Ex-minister challenges conviction in SC ISLAMABAD: Former religious affairs minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi, who was sentenced to six years in jail in the Haj corruption case, moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday challenging his conviction and rejection of his bail application by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
Mr Kazmi, who is a PPP leader, moved the appeal through his counsel Sardar Latif Khosa.
On June 3, the former minister was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, by the central judge, Islamabad, with a fine of Rs147 million.
Subsequently, Mr Kazmi moved the IHC for suspension of his conviction and for his release on bail till the conclusion of the hearing, but a single-judge bench of the high court rejected his plea on July 4.
In his petition, Mr Kazmi alleged that the high court had erred by not granting him bail in a case where no convincing evidence existed to connect him with the commission of the crime.
The petition emphasised that the impugned order of the high court needed to be set aside by the Supreme Court since the petitioner, according to a June 24 letter of superintendent central prison of Rawalpindi, had already served the sentence of three years, eight months and four days out of the total sentence of six years and thus sufficient grounds 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 petitioner said.
The petition argued that Mr Kazmi was in no manner accused of any malfeasance by the hiring review committee of the religious affairs ministry in respect of the offences he was accused of, which also did not find support from the material on record.
The petition also said that none of the 57 witnesses produced by the prosecution during the trial had uttered a single word against the petitioner and there was also no record showing the receipt of commission or kickbacks.
The petition expressed the confidence that there were bright chances of Mr Kazmi being exonerated from charges, since the petitioner had been a victim of propaganda unleashed against him.
“This propaganda affected the result of the trial against Mr Kazmi as well as also played a part in conviction of the petitioner by the trial court despite the fact that no material on record supported the charges levelled against him,” the petition alleged.
Mr Kazmi was released on bail when the trial court was hearing the case; thus the proper course would be that he should be granted bail till the final determination of his guilt by the Supreme Court, the petition pleaded.