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Kazmi`s bank accounts frozen

ISLAMABAD: In a fresh development in the Haj scam, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Monday froze three foreign bank accounts of former religious affairs minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi in Multan, a senior official of the agency said.

hamid saeed kazmiThe tracing and freezing of Mr Kazmi`s foreign currency accounts (FCAs) may create further trouble for him as he has already been accused of involvement in the fraud.

The ex-minister had earlier denied that he had any foreign bank account.

However, talking to Dawn, he conceded that he opened an FCA to have transaction in pound sterling with his brother who lives in the UK.

According to sources in the FIA, Mr Kazmi has some 20,000 pounds in one of his bank accounts in Faisal Bank. The exact amount in his other accounts frozen by the FIA could not be ascertained.

The source said since the former minister had denied he held any foreign currency accounts, the assistance of State Bank was sought to trace his accounts in Multan.

In his defence, the former minister said he held an FCA even before becoming minister. “Where can I take my bank account if I am accused of being involved in the scam,” he said.

“I opened foreign currency accounts because I have to make some transactions with my brother who lives in Britain. But I have made no significant transaction so far.”

About the two other accounts, the ex-minister said he could not recall having any such account. “The accounts might have been opened by a relative of mine who had worked in different banks and died three years ago.”

Under the Haj policy, the government had agreed to provide accommodation within two kilometres of the Haram Sharif. But most pilgrims had to stay three to eight kilometres from the Haram.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani sacked Mr Kazmi following an outcry over the Haj fiasco.—Syed Irfan Raza

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