Number of Haj applications plunges

December 06, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Only one week in the last date for receiving Haj applications under the government scheme is left as the Ministry of Religious Affairs said on Tuesday that the number of applications received in five days from November 27 to December 5 was disappointing.

The number of Haj quota under the government scheme is 89,605. Out of this, the quota of the sponsorship scheme has been fixed at 25,000. According to the ministry, the number of Haj applications received in the last ten days is 12,600.

Muslim pilgrims pray around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque, in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage. — AFP/File

Out of them, 800 have come under the sponsorship scheme and remaining under the regular scheme. In the past, there was always a huge number of applications submitted in the initial days, but this year the number is very low. There is a possibility that there may not be required number of applications as per the Haj quota, especially the target of the sponsorship scheme seems difficult to achieve.

Officials of the ministry say that if the target is not met by December 12, the deadline will be extended. One reason for the low demand is inflation and the other reason is that Haj is in June and the ministry is already moving six months in advance. The ministry sought the applications early, so that Haj arrangements could be improved.