LHC declares Hajj Policy 2011 as illegal, cancels the quota

Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday declared the governments Hajj Policy 2011 as illegal and cancelled the quota allotted to 650 tour operators. Three member bench of Lahore High Court headed by Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry heard the petitions filed by private tour operators, challenging the Hajj Policy 2011 by terming it unjust. Chief Justice Lahore High Court Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry during the hearing remarked said, "Apparently, the complaints of the petitioners seen as legitimate and the quotas have been issued on partial basis, but the court doesn't want to give any decision that compounds the problems of the Hajj pilgrims." The LHC Chief Justice ordered that the agreement with Saudi Arabia should be presented in the court if there was any in this regard. The Ministry of Religious Affairs submitted an agreement with the Saudi Arabia over the Hajj Policy in the court. The counsels of aggrieved tour operators said the Hajj Policy was not made public so far, which is aimed to stop the eligible tour operators. He also said that the court could not decide the matter if Saudi Arabia was involved in the agreement and reserved the judgement for some hours. Later in the day, the court declared the Hajj Policy 2011 as illegal and the court also ordered to cancellation the quota allotted to 650 tour operators. The court directed that hajj quota would be impartially distributed again. During the previous hearing, the LHC had issued a stay order against enforcement of Hajj and Umra Policy, 2011 and had called replies from the provincial and federal governments until June 6.

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