ISLAMABAD - Applications under government Haj scheme will be received by 14 designated banks from February 25 to March 6.

According to Haj policy released by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, 1,84,210 Pakistani pilgrims will perform Haj this year.

Haj scheme 2019 will be implemented through government and private Haj group organisers with the ratio of 60:40.

Haj dues under government scheme will be 436,975 rupees for northern region, which includes Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Sialkot, Faisalabad Multan and Rahim Yar Khan, while 426,975 rupees will be received for southern region, which includes Karachi, Quetta and Sukkur.

Qurbani charges 19,451 rupees will be optional and there will be no free Haj this year. The selection of Hujjaj under government scheme will be made through computerised balloting on 8th of the next month. This year, 10,000 seats would be reserved for senior citizens above the age of 80 years.

Another 10,000 seats would be reserved for persons who have been unsuccessful in balloting continuously for the last three years.

Under government scheme, 1.5 percent of the total seats will be reserved for hardship cases. All the Hujjaj will be provided five litres of Zam Zam.

APP adds: Meanwhile, in Haj Policy 2019, the ban on free Haj would continue this year, besides allocating special quota for octogenarian applicants, three consecutive time failures and labourers Haj aspirants, reveals the policy of Government Haj Scheme.

Female pilgrims above the age of 80 years may be accompanied by female helpers along with their joint ‘Mehram’ while male aged pilgrims may be accompanied by one helper.

500 seats have been reserved for low paid organizations, companies registered with Employees Old-Age Benefits Institutions (EOBI)/Workers Welfare Fund under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The additional quota of 5,000 would be distributed among new non quota holder Haj Group Organisers (HGOs). 60 percent quota of total ‘Hujjaj’ has been allocated to government scheme and 40 percent to Haj Group Organisers (HGOs).

The 14 designated banks which will receive applications are Habib Bank Limited, United Bank Limited, National Bank of Pakistan, MCB Bank Limited, Allied Bank Limited, Bank of Punjab, Meezan Bank, Bank Al Bank Al-Habib, Zarai Taraqiati Bank, Faysal Bank and Habibmetro Bank Limited.

In case of Fiqah Jafria, female pilgrim above the age of 45 years, mandatory condition of Mehram will be implemented in the light of Saudi taleemat. Hujjaj Mohafiz Scheme based on the concept of “Takaful” will continue in Haj Policy 2019.

A comprehensive awareness and training campaign will be launched for Hujjaj and welfare staff. Each HGO is required to submit performance guarantee from 5 percent and 10 percent of packages (package x quota) for old and new HGOs respectively in the form of bank/cash guarantee which will be released on satisfactory performance.

Monitoring and supervision mechanism for Haj operation of both government & private schemes will be ensured. To facilitate Hujjaj, Haj Medical Mission, Moavineen-i-Hujjaj, seasonal staff of MORA & IH and KSA-based Moavineen-i-Hujjaj will be deputed as per requirement in KSA for Haj 2019.

Some new initiatives are under process to be introduced for Haj, i.e. launching of ‘Road to Makkah’ project at JIA, Karachi. Negotiations are underway with KSA authorities for introduction of E-Visa facility to the Hujjaj for Haj to meet international standard.

Temporary Haji camp will be established in Gilgit and Hujjaj from Gilgit to Islamabad airport will be transported through buses on government expense. Hujjaj from the Quetta will be airlifted directly to KSA. Biometric verification arrangements will be made in the far flung districts of Sakardu, Turbat, Khuzdar, Chitral & Muzaffarabad.

Meanwhile, the intending Government Haj Scheme pilgrims planning to perform the sacred religious obligation this year from country’s southern and northern regions will have to pay Rs 11,910 and Rs 12,910 respectively for their accompanying each infant to Saudi Arabia.

According to official sources in Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, the parents travelling from Southern Region will have to pay 10 percent of Haj airfare which is Rs 10,000 as Haj dues for each ccompanying infant. The parents travelling from country’s northern region will have to pay Rs 11,000 as Haj dues for each accompanying infant, born after September 15, 2017. While the accompanying adult children of intending pilgrims are required to pay normal Haj dues, the sources added.

The intending pilgrims must have international machine readable passport having validity up to February 10, 2020 to avoid inconvenience.

The intending Haj applicants, who do not possess a valid international machine readable passport, would not be able to perform the sacred religious ceremony this year.

The applicants must also have a valid computerized national identity card and medical certificate.