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SC summons sentence record of former minister Kazmi

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court summoned on Wednesday complete sentence record of former religious affairs minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi who was convicted and awarded a six-year jail term in a Haj corruption case.

A two-judge bench consisting of Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Dost Mohammad Khan had taken up an appeal challenging the July 4 rejection of Mr Kazmi’s bail petition by the Islamabad High Court.

The former federal minister’s counsel, Sardar Abdul Latif Khosa, argued that his client had already undergone more than half of his sentence and was still languishing in jail.

The counsel highlighted that the sentence of the co-accused, former Haj director general Rao Shakeel and Raja Aftab, had already been suspended by the IHC. He informed the court that no embezzlement charges had been levelled against Mr Kazmi and he was only accused of misusing his authority.

The court ordered the authorities of Rawalpindi’s Adiyala jail to present the sentence record and issued a notice to the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

On June 3, Mr Kazmi was sentenced to six-year imprisonment under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 by the central judge of Islamabad with a fine of Rs147 million.

The former minister filed an appeal in the IHC against his conviction, seeking suspension of his punishment and his release on bail till the conclusion of the hearing, but a single-judge bench dismissed his plea on July 4.

In his main petition, Mr Kazmi claimed that the high court had erred by refusing to grant him bail in a case where there existed no convincing evidence on record to connect him with the commission of the crime.

The petition said the order of the high court needed to be set aside by the Supreme Court since the petitioner, according to the superintendent of the Central Prison Rawalpindi’s letter of June 24, had already served the sentence of three years, eight months and four days out of six years and thus sufficient ground existed for his release on bail.

The petition lamented that the charge framed by the court and ensuing trial did not co-relate the petitioner in the matter of hiring of buildings in Saudi Arabia for pilgrims. Moreover, out of 10 charges, only three were framed against the petitioner which too stood negated from the evidence on record, the petition said.

It said that none of the 57 prosecution witnesses during the trial uttered a word against Mr Kazmi and there was also no record showing the receipt of commission or kickbacks by him.

The petition expressed the confidence that there were bright chances of Mr Kazmi being exonerated from the charges since he had been the victim of propaganda unleashed against him.

“This propaganda affected the result of the trial against Mr Kazmi and played a part in sentencing the petitioner by the trial court despite the fact that no material on record support the charges levelled against him,” the petition alleged.

courtesy : dawn news

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