Gilanis son appears before court in Haj scam

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani`s son Abdul Qadir on Monday appeared before investigators to answer questions regarding allegations that he purchased a bulletproof SUV with kickbacks paid for hiring accommodation for Haj pilgrims.

Emerging from the Federal Investigation Agency office (FIA), Abdul Qadir told reporters he had no role in the Haj scandal and had met officials regarding allegations that he had "smuggled" a Toyota Prado Land Cruiser vehicle into the country.

"I am not to be bracketed with the Haj scam. Mine is a separate case about the bulletproof car," he said.

Contending that he had bought the SUV with his own money, Abdul Qadir said his tax returns and personal income would prove that he could afford two such vehicles.

"I came to the FIA office as an ordinary citizen and not as a provincial lawmaker. By coming here, I have proved that there is rule of law in the country," he said.

Abdul Qadir said he had submitted all documents related to the purchase of the vehicle and would also respond to a questionnaire given to him by the FIA.

"I am ready to accept any punishment if I am found guilty. I will accept the court`s verdict in this matter," he said.

He claimed that a "conspiracy" had been hatched to accuse him of smuggling the vehicle into the country.

The FIA had earlier issued a summons to Abdul Qadir to record his statement in connection with alleged corruption in the hiring of accommodation for Haj pilgrims.

The summons was issued after he failed to appear before the FIA on February 14 to record his statement.

Abdul Qadir has been accused of receiving Rs 20 million as kickbacks in the multi-million-rupee scandal that has already cost two federal ministers their jobs.

Former Religious Affairs Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi is currently free on interim bail after a court in Islamabad issued a warrant for his arrest.

The FIA summoned the premier`s son to record his statement in line with an order issued recently by the Supreme Court, which is hearing a suo motu case on the Haj scam.

Zain Sukhera, a close friend of Abdul Qadir, who has also been linked to the scam, recently resigned from his post of consultant with the Information Technology Ministry.