Hajis’ problems

The enquiries ordered by the President and the Prime Minister into the hiring of accommodation for Haj pilgrims by the government are themselves indications of why the mismanagement occurred. The Supreme Court has already taken notice of the matter because of a letter by a Saudi Prince about the expense of the accommodation. His allegations did not introduce anything that was not already well known, as he only made public what was already known to the Religious Affairs Ministry, that the accommodation obtained for intending Hajis by the Directorate was substandard and not even complete. Though the Supreme Court took notice of the scandal before the Haj, one Haj was destined to occur in the shoddy accommodation.

Though all the facts had appeared well before the latest developments, the scandal of the mistreatment of Pakistani pilgrims has still occurred, because of the culture of corruption that dominates in the government of today, though there have always been problems with the Haj Directorate, reflected by the facts that it is both a prized posting, and its Directors, like the last two, often end up under enquiry. The latest step, of involving the Foreign Ministry in the coordination, can only add confusion without resolving the underlying issue. Apart from the problems of the pilgrims, there will now be turf battles aplenty, mostly centred on obtaining postings to Makkah. Also, there does not seem to be enough reason to have a separate Religious Affairs Ministry if it cannot manage something which should be its primary duty, and needs another Ministry to step in and help it perform a basic duty – Nation