ISLAMABAD: This year Hajj will cost Rs1.175 million to Rs1.165 million to Pakistani pilgrims intending to perform the religious obligations owing to the rupee depreciation.
This was stated by the Federal Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Mufti Abdul Shakoor, here on Friday, while addressing a press conference, saying “The price of Hajj has increased due to Pak rupee devaluation”. “Pakistan’s quota for Hajj 2023 is 179,210 pilgrims.”
The minister said that the Hajj applications can be submitted in 14 designated banks across the country from March 16 to March 31, 2023. The Hajj draw will be conducted in the first week of April, 50 percent quota has been allocated to the private Hajj operators and the rest of the people will perform under the government scheme.
Minister for Religious Affairs Shakoor says all possible steps are being taken to provide maximum facilities to Hajj pilgrims this year. He said the overall national quota for this year’s Hajj is 179,210 which will be distributed among government and private sectors with a proportion of fifty-fifty. He said Road to Makkah project facility will continue at the Islamabad Airport which is likely to be extended to Lahore and Karachi.
The minister said on his personal request, Saudi Arabia has reduced the necessary Hajj duties compared to the previous year. The minister said that the government has removed the upper age limit for the people going for Hajj but those who performed Hajj in the past five years are restricted. He said the estimated Hajj cost for Northern Region that includes, Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Faisalabad, Rahim Yar Khan, and Sialkot is Rs1,175,000 while for the Southern region it is Rs1,165,000. The estimated cost for the northern region under the sponsorship Hajj scheme is 4,325 dollars and 4,285 dollars for the Southern region.
Mufti Shakoor said this year the government has introduced Sponsorship Hajj Scheme to facilitate overseas Pakistanis and under the scheme, an estimated $194 million will be received.
“The Hajj cost for Pakistan is below India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. On our request, the government of Saudi Arabia has reduced the cost of Hajj for Pakistan,” he said. “Moreover, the Ministry of Finance has pledged an amount of $90 million to facilitate Hajj.”
According to the minister, pilgrims will avail train service in Mina and Muzdalifah. He added that the government was making efforts to provide all possible facilities to pilgrims. Only necessary expenses are added to the Hajj price, he said.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023