ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the Hajj Policy 2017 in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Pakistantribe.com reported.
According to the government officials, PM Nawaz ordered the religious affair ministry to make the best possible arrangements for Pakistani pilgrims this year, the information minister said in a press conference.
Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb after the review PM denied to increase Hajj expenses and ordered concerned officials to rework and present Hajj packages again in the next cabinet meeting.
According to the government announced detail of the Hajj Package 2017, Pakistan’s Hajj quota has been restored to 179,210.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Hajj Ministry has additionally been requested to enhance Pakistan’s quota by at least 15,000 on the basis of the current population of the country.
According to the document, the following services will be provided to Pakistani pilgrims for this year:
- Express clearance services at Jeddah and Madina airports.
- Modern buses to transport pilgrims from the airport to their residences.
- Provision of 100 per cent accommodation in markazia in Madina will be ensured.
- Provision of cooked meals three times a day in Mashair (Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah).
- Provision of filtered water and effective cooling systems in each maktab in Mina.
- Provision of fireproof tents at Arafat.
- Separate washrooms for the disabled in Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat.
According to the Dawn, a local English daily from Pakistan, the Hajj quota of 179,210 pilgrims is expected to be divided in a 60/40 ratio between the government and private Hajj operators, and in case Pakistan’s request for an increase in quota is approved by Saudi Arabia, it will also be divided between government and private Hajj schemes.
The quota for private operators will be allocated to existing quota holders to ensure smooth Hajj operations.
Additional proposals for the Hajj quota include:
Applicants who have performed Hajj during the last seven years will not be eligible to apply for Hajj 2017 under the government scheme. Similarly for private Hajj schemes, the limit may be restricted to the last five years.
Hajj-e-Badal will be allowed through private Hajj operators only.
The Hajj Policy Formulation Committee of the Supreme Court have recommended the abolishment of the ‘hardship quota’ in the Hajj scheme.
The airfare of Rs95,000 (North) and Rs86,000 (South) from 2016 will be maintained for Hajj 2017.