Pakistan's Supreme Court has suspended over 77,000 Haj quotas for private tour operators saying the Religious Affairs Ministry will have no power or role to make allocation for any quota in this regard for the upcoming Haj.
"The Religious Affairs Ministry will have no power or role to make allocation for any quota to any private operator," the
reported today, quoting the order of a three-member bench of the Supreme Court.
The bench also ordered the formation of an independent committee, to be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge, to scrutinise provisional allotment of quotas and their reallocation within 10 days.
The court took up the matter for hearing after the Ministry of Religious Affairs appealed against Lahore High Court's ruling to review its policy of allotting Haj quotas on the allegations of giving arbitrary and discriminatory quota to private tour operators, the newspaper reported.
"The Supreme Court will not let anyone turn the Haj into a business venture," the bench said, stating that this was a religious obligation and the court was concerned about the rights of pilgrims.
The bench also stressed the need for a comprehensive and transparent Haj policy for the next year.