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Top Story

April 25, 2015

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Haj applications to be received from Monday

ISLAMABAD: The government on Friday announced the Haj Policy under which 143,368 Pakistanis would go on pilgrimage this year under the government’s Regular and Private schemes.
Announcing the Haj Policy, Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousuf said 10 bank branches all over the country would receive applications from April 27 through May 8.In order to select the successful applicants, the government has decided to hold balloting contrary to the past practice of ‘first come, first served basis’.
The new policy will provide an equal opportunity to the applicants to perform Haj.There would be a 50 percent quota each for the government’s Regular and Private tour operators. As such, a total of 71,684 applicants would be selected for the Regular Scheme through balloting.
Flanked by Minister of State for Religious Affairs Pir Aminul Hasnat, Sardar Muhammad Yousuf said under the Regular Scheme, the Haj expenses for the North Region — Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa — had been reduced from Rs272,231 to Rs264,971 and from Rs262,231 to Rs255,971 for the South Region. However, the pilgrims opting to pay for ‘Qurbani’ will have to deposit an additional Rs14,210 along with the application.
The Haj expenses have been decreased mainly due to a reduction in air fares. The fare for the North Region has been reduced to Rs98,700 from Rs107,700 while for the South Region, it has been reduced to Rs89,700 from Rs97,700.
Like the last year, the pilgrims would get meals at their residences in Madina, Mecca and Mina without paying an additional amount under the Regular Scheme.All those who have performed Haj in the last five years will not be eligible except for those accompanying as Mahram or intending to do Haj-e-Badal.
Sardar Yousuf said 50 percent intending pilgrims would be airlifted to Jeddah and Madina directly and each pilgrim would get five-litre bottles of Zam Zam at the airport on their return to Pakistan.
The minister maintained

that like the past few years, this year too there would be no free Haj.The Haj expenses also include transport fares during the pilgrims’ 40-day stay and they would be provided with round-the-clock transport facility there.
Moreover, they would also get the best possible accommodation in Azizia under the same category.To a question, the minister said the tour operators would not be given any additional quota of intending pilgrims.
Under the Private Scheme, the pilgrims will also be able to register their complaints through email and by meeting monitoring teams, which will also be there to look after the arrangements.
In order to provide better health facilities, a medical mission comprising 450 doctors and paramedics will also serve the pilgrims.Machine Readable passports, Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) and medical certificates have been made mandatory for the pilgrims.

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