22-day short Hajj being introduced to facilitate pilgrims: Aneeq


KARACHI (APP):Caretaker Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Aneeq Ahmad on Thursday said that all out efforts are being made to extend maximum facilities to Pakistani pilgrims.

They will feel visible difference this year as first time in the history of this country,  a 22-day short Hajj is being introduced, he said while talking to media on the occasion of Hajj balloting 2024 held for intending Pakistani pilgrims at Karachi Press Club.

The minister said that Hajj quota for Pakistani pilgrims this year is 189210 while around 5633 surplus applications against the Hajj quota were received, he added.

He said that our endeavours to reduce the cost of Hajj package also brought results and we have succeeded to reduce  Rs 100,000 from the total expense of Hajj package.

Aneeq Ahmed said that mobile phone sims will also be provided to Pakistani pilgrims free of cost with 7GB data and unlimited calls facilities to enable them get in touch with their loved-ones. Besides, a 30kg suitcase with QR code and “Abaya” with Pakistani flag on its back for the female pilgrims will also be provided, he added.

Speaking about the facility of  immigration clearance at Pakistani airports before leaving for Hajj under Saudi Arabia’s “Road to Makkah” project, the minister said, this facility would be available at Islamabad and Karachi airports this year and we are also trying to add more cities of Pakistan in it.

In reply to a question, he said that first time in the history of Pakistan, Hajj flights will also operate from Skardu.

He said that  25,000 seats were reserved for the sponsorship scheme to facilitate Overseas Pakistanis to sponsor himself or anyone else for performing Hajj but the response is slow because we have only received around 3500 applications under this scheme so far, he added. He said that date is extended to December 31, 2023.

Earlier,  digital balloting of Hajj-2024 was held and the Caretaker Minister for Religious Affairs informed that successful Pakistani pilgrims would  be informed through sms on their registered mobile numbers.

He also advised the successful Pakistani pilgrims  to download mobile application “Pakhajj” to stay up-to-date regarding all the phases from their departure for Hajj, till return to Pakistan.

To another question, he said that in case any successful applicant refuses to perform Hajj due to some reason, then other candidate from the same city will be given an opportunity as per merit from waiting list.

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