| GEO Pakistan|
| Hajj balloting on August 11|
| Updated at: 2035 PST, Wednesday, July 21, 2010|
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Hamid Saeed Kazmi on Wednesday said the balloting to select 80,000 intending pilgrims under the government scheme would be held on August 11.
He was talking to media persons after attending a summer camp, which was organized for journalists' families here at the National Press Club.
He said the ministry has received 83,000 applications from the intending pilgrims, adding "The number of intending pilgrims is likely to reach 88,000 as 2,000 to 2,500 applications are still in pipeline besides some requests by industrialists for their workers."
This year, around 80,000 pilgrims would perform Hajj under the government scheme, while the same number of Hujjaj would be sent to Saudi Arabia through Hajj Group Organizers (HGOs), he added.
Kazmi said the ministry was expecting to get additional Hajj quota of 10,000 in the current month of Sha'ban, which would be equally distributed between private and government schemes.
The Saudi government was considering the requests to increase the allocation from different countries for the year 2010.
"The Saudi authorities have forwarded the requests of different countries to the Royal Court after completing the initial process. Now, we are looking for announcement of the Royal order, which hopefully will come soon," the minister said.
He said the ministry has so far finalized the arrangements for the accommodation of 40,000 pilgrims out of 80,000 in Saudi Arabia, while, the process of hiring residential buildings for remaining 40,000 Hujjaj is underway.