Pakistan's state media says a former minister for religious affairs has been given a 16-year prison sentence for taking kickbacks while hiring accommodation for Pakistani pilgrims during the 2009 hajj to Saudi Arabia.

State-run Pakistan Television reported Friday that the court also sentenced two former government officials, Aftab Alam and Rao Shakeel, to 16 and 40 years in prison for their involvement in the hajj scam. The court ruling comes several years after their arrest.

Nearly 150,000 Pakistani pilgrims perform hajj each year. Many go on low-cost tours arranged by the Pakistani government, and complain of poor quality accommodation.

According to Islam, all able-bodied Muslims are required to perform the hajj once in their lifetime.