Over 170,000 to perform Haj next year
ISLAMABAD – With no increase in Haj dues Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony Sardar Mohammad Yousaf has announced Haj Policy 2018 according to which 120,000 pilgrims would perform Haj under the government scheme, while some 59,210 will avail the private Haj Scheme.
Giving details of the policy, the federal religious minister informed the media persons at a press conference here on Wednesday that designated branches of scheduled banks would start receiving Government Scheme Haj applications from January 15 next year.
He further said that the Haj applications would be received till January 24 and balloting to choose 120,000 successful pilgrims would be held on January 26.
A quota of 10,000 has been allocated for the applicants of over 80 years of age for Haj.
If the number of applicants exceeds 10,000 mark, selection would be done through balloting, Sardar Yousaf said.
He said that the applicants who remained unsuccessful in the last three consecutive years would be selected through normal balloting.
A total of 10,000 of such persons would be selected through a separate balloting, the minister said. Haj Group Organisers would be enrolled afresh, he said.
The minister said Rs280,000 would be paid by the intending pilgrims of North region, while Rs270,000 would be received from the intending pilgrims going to perform Haj from South region.
Haj dues have not been increased this year, the religious affairs minister added. He further said that the intending pilgrims would have to deposit an additional amount of Rs13,050 for sacrifice.
The government Haj scheme quota ratio has been enhanced further on public demand, the minister said.
A total of 179,210 Pakistanis would perform the sacred religious obligation in 2018, 67 per cent will perform Haj under the government scheme and 33 per cent under the private scheme, the minister said.
Stakeholders would be consulted to reduce Haj itinerary from 38 days to 30 days, the minister maintained.
The successful pilgrims could also be able to see the status of their application on the ministry’s website, www[dot]mora[dot]gov[dot]pk and www[dot]hajjinfo[dot]org.
The minister said that a person having performed Haj under Government Scheme had been declared not eligible for applying for Haj only exception is for “mehram” accompanying women for Haj.
A “mehram” has been made mandatory for each pilgrim woman.
However, women belonging to Fiqh-e-Jafria and over 45 years of age would be exempted from the condition, he said.
International machine readable passport having validity of up to February 20th, 2019, computerised national identity card and medical certificate would be mandatory for the Haj, the minister said.
A two per cent quota (2,400) has been reserved for hardship cases.
Out of which 500 seats would be allocated to low income, labourers whose institution has been registered with Workers Welfare Board.
The minister said Haj Group Organisers (HGOs) would be allotted quota through a transparent mechanism. The HGOs would have to deposit five per cent of their package amount to the ministry as security deposit, which is returnable after Haj, he said.