Zabul hajj, religious affairs director accused of corruption
QALAT (Pajhwok): Accusing director hajj and religious affairs of corruption, provincial council in southern Zabul province on Thursday demanded immediate sacking of the official.
The hajj and religious affairs director, however, rejected the allegations, saying he has not deviated from any laws.
Mullah Abdul Hakim, secretary Zabul Ulama Council, told Pajhwok Afghan News he had evidence the department had hired some shopkeepers and drivers as religious scholars.
He said they had complained to local administration and central government time and again but to no avail. He warned to resign and close highways if the government did not respond to their request.
Hakim said the hajj director had also appointed his father and a friend as guide for pilgrims so they could travel to Saudi Arabia.
Haji Mangal, head of mosques in the hajj department, also accused the director of misusing his authority. Mangal told Pajhwok Afghan News the director had chosen hajj guides from among his family members.
He also claimed that for repairing the department the director had spent 44,000 afghanis but had withdrawn 265,000 afghanis for the purpose.
According to Haji Mangal, the director had embezzled money in some other construction projects as well, urging the officials to take action or they would tender resignations.
Some provincial council members also acknowledged that differences between hajj director, his staff, and some Ulama were in place and needed to be resolved.
Mohammad Dawood Gulzar, provincial council member, voiced concerns about hiring incompetent people, administrative graft, and using the hajj department as a private firm by the director.
Gulzar said if the government did not resolve the issue it would create gulf between Ulama and the government.
But the Zabul hajj and religious affairs director rejected the allegations, insisting he was discharging his duties as per established laws.
He said the pilgrims guides have been chosen by the ministry in Kabul and he did not have any role in it.
He said after sacking some prayer leaders who were only receiving salaries but not working, the propaganda to defame him had been unleashed.
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