ISLAMABAD - The Ministry of Religious Affairs has postponed Haj balloting scheduled for Friday afternoon at the last minute. The decision was taken after legal consultations on the verdict of the Sindh High Court that had stopped the religious ministry from holding the balloting.

According to officials, a new date for the balloting would be announced soon and it may take place next month.

The ministry has received a record-breaking number of 374,829 Haj applications for the government Haj scheme 2018.

Soon after the approval of new Haj policy, the Ministry of Religious Affairs had started receiving applications at designated bank branches across the country from January 15 to January 24.

Many pointed out the unprecedented early Haj applications had been sought to get maximum kickbacks before the completion of the present government’s tenure.

Ministry officials, however, claim that Haj applications were not sought early and it was in compliance with the directions of the Saudi government, which had asked to complete the Haj application process as early as the month of Shaaban. The ministry officials said that due to court intervention, the process was delayed in the past and it was due to the court order that the balloting was postponed.

The officials said that the ministry would approach the Supreme Court against the SHC verdict.