With $90m foreign exchange cover, ECC approves Hajj policy 2023

March 07, 2023

Out of govt and private hajj schemes, a quota of 50% each will be reserved for sponsorship scheme

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Muslims pray at the Grand Mosque during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. — Reuters

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Monday gave its nod to the Hajj policy 2023 and agreed to provide foreign exchange cover of $90 million.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony presented a summary to this effect before the cabinet committee meeting held with Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar in the chair.

The hajj quota allocated to Pakistan for the year 2023 is 179,210, which would be distributed between the government and private hajj schemes at a ratio of 50:50, according to a statement issued by the finance ministry.

Out of the government and private hajj schemes, a quota of 50% each would be reserved for sponsorship scheme, it said adding for the year 2023, the tentative hajj package for the Northern region is Rs1,175,000 and for the South Region is Rs1,165,000.

PIA unveils Hajj 2023 fares

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), on March 4, announced that its pre-Hajj operation would start on May 21 and continue till August 12 during which the national flag carrier will lift 38,000 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.

“Pre Hajj operation will commence from 1st Zilqad till 4th Zilhajj, 1444 corresponding to Gregorian date 21st May till 22nd June 2023 (subject to moon sighting),” according to PIA Hajj circular.

The national flag carrier has decided to charge fares in US dollars for the second year in a row and fixed the fares for pilgrims going to Saudi Arabia under the private Hajj scheme from $870 to $1180 for the Southern region that includes Karachi, Quetta, Sukkur, Hyderabad.

This development comes after the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Friday decided to allocate a 50% special quota in the Government Hajj Scheme-2023 for the pilgrims who will pay in US dollars.

On the other hand, the airfares for the pilgrims from the northern region were in the range of $910 to $1,220. The northern sector includes Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Multan, and other cities.

The cost of a complete government Hajj scheme-based pilgrimage would be Rs1.25 million.

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