Hajj 2023: Pakistan reserves 25% quota for pilgrims depositing dues in dollars

Religious ministry increases Hajj quota for private operators, sources tell APP

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APP
Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba and pray at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia July 1, 2022. — Reuters
Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba and pray at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia July 1, 2022. — Reuters

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony on Friday decided to allocate a 25% special quota in the government Hajj scheme for the pilgrims who will deposit dues in US dollars.

The ministry also decided that the intending pilgrims, depositing dues in dollars, would be exempted from the balloting under the new Hajj policy, official sources told APP on Friday.

They said about 22,400 pilgrims would benefit from the ‘Sponsorship Scheme’ being introduced by the ministry in the wake of the current foreign exchange reserves in the country.

The Hajj expenses could also be submitted through foreign remittances in dollars, the sources added.

They said the Ministry of Finance had indicated that it would not be able to arrange $2 billion for the Hajj in view of the forex liquidity problem.

The sources said the religious ministry had increased the Hajj quota for private operators from 40% to 50%, which might be further raised in the wake of a persistent foreign exchange liquidity crunch.

They said the ministry would charge Rs1.1 million from each pilgrim under the government scheme, but the Hajj expenses might rise to Rs1.3 million in case of further depreciation of the rupee.

The sources further added that the Government of Saudi Arabia was increasing the tax rate on Hajj by 18% to 20%.