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Supreme Court turns down plea for increasing Hajj quota of govt

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday rejected a petition of the federal government challenging the Islamabad High Court’s verdict that reduced Hajj quota under government scheme from 67 to 60 per cent. 

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, dismissed the petition after hearing arguments from a federal law officer.

Ministry of Religious Affairs challenged the reduction in Hajj quota, arguing that the quota was fixed at 67 per cent under the Hajj policy for this year, however, the IHC reduced it to 60 per cent without factoring in some important facts.

It was submitted that legal wrangling involving Hajj quota has delayed computerized Hajj balloting and if balloting is delayed further, Hajj operation could be affected.

The apex court was, thus, pleaded to declare the IHC verdict null and void.

During the hearing, the chief justice took exception to a meeting of the federal cabinet in which Hajj quota was increased to 67 per cent despite the high court’s ruling.

On March 16, the Islamabad High Court fixed Hajj quota of the government at 60 and private Hajj operators at 40 per cent for the year.

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