Court orders Sri Lankan ministry to handle Haj quota

Updated 07 August 2014
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Court orders Sri Lankan ministry to handle Haj quota

A court in Colombo ruled Monday that the Haj quota of pilgrims in Sri Lanka will be handled by the ministry which deals with Bhuddist and other religious affairs.
The court order was given as a sequel to a dispute between the government Haj committee and a group of travel agents who were interested in taking a larger share of the quota of 2,240 pilgrims allotted to Sri Lanka by the Saudi Ministry of Haj.
In a directive sent to the Sri Lankan missions in Riyadh and Jeddah, Secretary to the Ministry of Buddha Sassana and Relgious Affairs , M.K.B Dissanayake has said that as per the court order, the distribution of pilgrims will be handled by the ministry and any interference will be treated as a contempt of the court.
The distribution of pilgrims was done earlier by a team of Muslim officials under the direct supervision of a Muslim minister.
Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice Mohan Peiris on July 14 called on the parties involved in the dispute to settle the matter amicably when the aggrieved parties took legal action against the government’s distribution committee.
The Serendib Haj and Umrah Association had filed a case against the Haj Pilgrims Committee which had distributed the quotas in a biased manner.
The case was subsequently taken before a panel of three Supreme Court Judges.
The Haj Pilgrims Committee of the Religious Affairs Ministry is presided by Senior Minister A.H.M. Fowzie, and its co-president is Deputy Minister Abdul Cader.
This committee is responsible for the distribution of the quota among 90 agents.
In a statement made earlier to Arab News, Minister Fowzie said the island has more than 3 million Muslims and his ministry has so far received more than 7,000 applicants for the forthcoming Haj. He pointed out that Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar had explained the difficulties faced by the Saudi authorities in accommodating a larger number of pilgrims because of the ongoing construction work at the holy sites.


US’ Mnuchin says talk about sanctions premature, will visit Riyadh to meet with counterpart

Updated 21 October 2018
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US’ Mnuchin says talk about sanctions premature, will visit Riyadh to meet with counterpart

JERUSALEM, Oct 21 : US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday it was premature to comment on possible US sanctions against Saudi Arabia for the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi until an investigation had been completed.
Mnuchin said information so far on the investigation was “a good first step but not enough” as Riyadh faced increasing international pressure over what happened to Khashoggi, who disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
US President Donald Trump, who has said the United States would consider sanctions against Saudi Arabia, emphasized on Saturday that he was not satisfied with the Saudis’ handling of the case.
“It would be premature to comment on sanctions and premature to comment on really any issues until we get further down the investigation and get to the bottom of what occurred,” Mnuchin told reporters in Jerusalem.
Mnuchin confirmed that he would not attend a Saudi investment conference on Tuesday. However, he said he would visit Riyadh as planned for talks with his counterpart on joint efforts to counter terrorist financing and plans by Washington to reimpose sanctions against Iran in November.
“I did not think it was appropriate to go and speak at this conference but we continue to have important issues with Saudi and that is why I am going there,” Mnuchin said.
The visit, he said, was necessary as Washington prepares to reimpose sanctions against Iran.
He said he had no reason to believe that Saudi Arabia would renege on commitments to make up for any shortfall in global oil supplies as Iranian oil exports are curbed under the sanctions.
“I have no reason to believe that they are not going to honor those commitments,” said Mnuchin, who will meet Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih while in Riyadh.