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    Samanganis say their names missing from pilgrims' list

    AIBAK (PAN): A number of intending hajj pilgrims in northern Samangan province on Thursday claimed their names were missing from a list issued by the Ministry of Hajj and Islamic Affairs.

    At least 35 pilgrims said, despite their nomination as a result of a secret ballot and completion of the necessary training, their names had been removed from the final list.

    Sayed Hussain, a resident of Hazrat-i-Sultan district, told Pajhwok Afghan News his name was included in the list after balloting. He said he had submitted the bank fee, but his name had been removed by the ministry without assigning any reason.

    Maulvi Abdul Wali, a prayer leader in Aibak, said his mother and brother had successfully passed the lottery process and their names were included in the list. But later their names were dropped by the ministry.

    Dr. Ziauddin Zia, the provincial council chief, said he along with some other colleagues wanted to share the issue with the Hajj and Auqaf Minister, but he refused to meet them.

    He accused the minister of giving chance to his blue-eyed people to go to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage and depriving the deserving of their rights.

    Meanwhile, Hajj and Auqaf Department chief, Abdul Saboor Nadeemi, confirmed the issue, adding 390 people from the province would depart for Saudi Arabia to perform hajj.

    Hajj and Auqaf Deputy Minister Daiul Haq Abid said names of people from several other provinces had also been removed from the list. He blamed provincial department chiefs for creating the problem.