Applications for the government’s Hajj scheme are open from February 25 to March 4 and can be submitted to 14 designated banks across the country, sources reported.
According to the Ministry of Religious Affairs’ Hajj policy, 184,210 Pakistani pilgrims will perform Hajj this year and the 2019 Hajj scheme will be arranged through the government and private operators.
Under the government’s scheme, the package will cost Rs436,975 for pilgrims from the northern regions which include Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Multan, and Rahim Yar Khan. For those from the south of the country, it will cost Rs426,975, which includes Karachi, Quetta, and Sukkur.
Qurbani charges of approximately Rs20,000 will be optional and there shall be no free Hajj this year.
The selection of pilgrims under the government scheme will be made through computerised balloting on March 8 with 10,000 seats reserved for senior citizens above 80 years of age. Another 10,000 seats will be reserved for people who have been unsuccessful in the ballot selection for the last three years.
The Association of All Pakistan’s Enrolled Companies (AAPEC) on Tuesday asked the government to review the price hikes in the Hajj package to make them affordable for the common man.
Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, AAPEC central chief supervisor Shahjahan Khalil said the government should either reverse its decision of surge in Hajj expenses or hand it over completely to the private tour operators.
Khalil said a reduction to Rs380,000 for the residents of north zone and Rs370,000 for residents of the south zone is possible.
He warned if the ministry did not accept the demands of AAPEC, the body would knock the door of Supreme Court for a stay order on Hajj policy and forward the suggested packages.