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Pakistan Ex-Minister Jailed For 16 Years Over Hajj Scam

File photo of Hamid Saeed Kazmi

A former Pakistani minister for religious affairs has been given a 16-year prison sentence for taking kickbacks in arranging the annual hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, state media report.

Hamid Saeed Kazmi was a minister in the government of the Pakistan People's Party that was in power from 2008 to 2013.

Reports said a special court convicted two other former officials from the Religious Affairs Ministry on June 3 and jailed them for 16 and 40 years for their involvement in the scam.

More than 100,000 Pakistanis perform the hajj each year. Many of them go on low-cost tours arranged by the Islamabad government, and complain of poor quality accommodation.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

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