Saturday, April 30, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Applications for Hajj this year would be received from May 1-13, Religious Affairs Minister Mufti Abdul Shakoor announced Friday.
Addressing a press conference, the minister said applicants would deposit token money of Rs50,000 with the application to be submitted in scheduled banks designated by the ministry.
Previously, it was a practice that the applicants had to deposit the whole Hajj expenditures in the account of the ministry and the unsuccessful applicants were refunded the amount after balloting.
The minister said the total amount of Hajj will be announced after confirmation from Saudi authorities.
"However, it is expected that the cost of Hajj this year may be around Rs0.7m to 1m", he said, adding that Pakistan has received a Hajj quota of 81,132 pilgrims this year with a 40% share of the government scheme and 60% private scheme.
He said due to an increase in the cost of services and taxes by the Saudi government, an increment is expected in the Hajj expenses. Shakoor said the Saudi Hajj ministry used to provide guidelines and expenditures in advance but due to COVID-19, the details of Hajj expenses were being awaited.
In this context, the ministry's directorate general in Jeddah was in constant contact with his Saudi counterparts to settle down the issues of mutual interest as soon as possible, he added.
The minister revealed that the Saudi Hajj ministry had given the deadline of May 16, to complete all the codal formalities for smooth sailing of Hajj 2022.
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Keeping in view the time constraints and official hiccups, the ministry has decided to ask the aspirant pilgrims to submit their applications in designated branches of the scheduled banks with token money of Rs50,000, he added.
Shakoor said the applications could be submitted online and through banks from May 1 to 13 while the token money could be deposited from May 9 to 13.
The minister said this exercise would help manage the time as the official business during the Eid holidays would be suspended. He also made it clear that the COVID-19 booster jab and PCR tests 72 hours prior to departure for the pilgrims were mandatory.
Replying to a query, he said he would personally monitor the whole Hajj process and if someone was found criminally negligent, he would be treated as per law of the land. He said the upper age limit for pilgrims is 65.