LAHORE - People who went to Haj this year under the government scheme complained they had to face many problems, especially transport, at Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah.

They were sharing their Haj experiences at a conference at Haj Camp under the aegis of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Haj Organisers Association of Pakistan (HOAP). Lahore Haj Director Saeed Ahmed Malik chaired the event while HOAP President Shahid Rafiq, Akbar Chaudhry and others addressed the participants. The pilgrims said that government’s Makaatib were overcrowded and arrangements for food and water distribution were poor. The conference was also attended by pilgrims who performed Haj under the private scheme. Pilgrims gave suggestions which were summarised by the HOAP chairman.  He said  Haj Policy 2018 should be announced well in time and it must be long term so that people could make arrangements. He said the government and private schemes should be given 50 percent quota each.

“The quota for the companies having 50 pilgrims and working for five years should be enhanced. Multiple visa must be valid for two years. Monitoring must be up to a reasonable limit. Vaccination of pilgrims should be allowed during the Haj Training Session.  The ministry should make payment of CHD and other refundable funds. Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Hajj Organisers Association of Pakistan should be on the same page on cut in cost of Makaatib.  Supply of food should be at Azizia alone and food at Makkah and Madina hotels must be optional,” he said. Haj organisers should be given letters for five years so that they can hire accommodations on a long-term basis and decrease the Haj package. HCF should be used as a guarantee instead of performance guarantee, he concluded.

 

Javed Iqbal