Govt receives over 72,000 applications under regular Hajj scheme as deadline nears

ISLAMABAD(a1tv news)The government of Pakistan through the designated banks has received 72869 applications against the regular Hajj scheme as the deadline for submission of application ends on Sunday.

The quota for Hajj pilgrims under the regular scheme is 44190 and the government would be doing balloting to select the successful pilgrims for this year’s Hajj scheduled in June.

To review progress on Hajj arrangements, Federal Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting on Saturday which was attended by Mufti Abdul Shakoor, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Tariq Mehmood Pasha, Secretary Religious Affairs, Special Secretary Finance and senior officers from Finance and Religious Affairs Ministries.

The participants reviewed and discussed progress on the Hajj-2023 and how to faciliatte the pilgrims intending to perform the ritual this year. Secretary Religious Affairs briefed the participants about the measures taken to streamline the process. 

The Ministry of Religious Affairs and interfaith Harmony also provided details about its foreign exchange requirement for this year’s Hajj.

During the meeting, it was desired by the finance minister that complete and fully reconciled information regarding the final number of applications received under the Regular Scheme should be collected from the banks by Tuesday 4th April, 2023.

It was agreed that on receipt of complete information, the government shall review and decide the final number of intended applicants for Regular Hajj Scheme.

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar stated that Hajj was a sacred religious obligation and the Government of Pakistan shall facilitate the Hujjaj in every possible manner.

Earlier, the government of Pakistan had announced extending the deadline for the submission of applications under the Regular Hajj Scheme till April 2. The deadline for submission of applications under the ‘sponsorship scheme’ was extended till April 9.

Pakistan’s quota for Hajj 2023 is 179,210 pilgrims. This is the first time that the government of Saudi Arabia has restored the number of pilgrims to pre-Covid levels. 

It is to be highlighted that 50 percent quota has been reserved for Sponsorship scheme which is a special facility given to Hajj pilgrims seeking foreign exchange from abroad in the specific dollar account of the religious affairs ministry.

It merits mentioning that this is the first time Saudi Arabia would be welcoming pilgrims in large numbers i.e around 2.3 after the pandemic restrictions have been lifted. Around one million people joined the 2022 Hajj season and only those in age bracket 18 to 65 who were fully vaccinated or immunised against the virus and did not suffer from chronic diseases were allowed to visit the kingdom.

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