Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Junkets: Pakistan MPs demand ministry pay for visits to Saudi

In Pakistan, government and opposition members of the National Assembly,have demanded that the Religious Affairs Ministry pay for meetings of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Religious Affairs in Saudi Arabia to oversee Haj arrangements.

Mohammad Imran writing for the Daily Times, reports they demanded the committee hold meetings in Saudi Arabia during the month of Ramazan. Vakil Ahmed Khan, the ministry’s secretary, refused to entertain the demand, saying the meetings could be arranged in Saudi Arabia only if the NA speaker directed him to do so. He said he would not recommend any delegation go to Saudi Arabia to oversee Haj arrangements as there was no such precedent.

Shagufta Jamani of the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) said, "We want to hold a meeting in Saudi Arabia and the Religious Affairs Ministry should make arrangements for it". She then told her party colleague Zummard Khan to stay silent when he said the committee members should visit Saudi Arabia on their own expense.