Friday, March 10, 2023
Web Desk

Over 179,000 Pakistanis to perform Hajj this year: minister

Web Desk

Minister for Religious Affairs Mufti Abdul Shakoor addresses a press conference in Islamabad, on March 10, 2023. — Radio Pakistan
Minister for Religious Affairs Mufti Abdul Shakoor addresses a press conference in Islamabad, on March 10, 2023. — Radio Pakistan
  • Estimated Hajj cost for northern and southern regions is Rs1.17m and Rs1.16m, respectively.
  • Under sponsorship Hajj scheme, ministry hopes to receive $194m.
  • Hajj quota to be distributed among govt, private sectors with proportion of 50-50.        

Minister for Religious Affairs Mufti Abdul Shakoor said Friday that 179,210 Pakistani pilgrims would perform Hajj this year.

Announcing the Hajj policy 2023 in the federal capital during a press conference, the minister said that all possible steps are being taken to provide maximum facilities to the pilgrims.

The estimated Hajj cost for the northern region, which includes Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Faisalabad, Rahim Yar Khan, and Sialkot, is Rs1,175,000 while for the southern region, it is Rs1,165,000.

Giving details, the minister said that the estimated cost for the northern region under the sponsorship Hajj scheme is $4,325 and $4,285 dollars for the southern region.

In a bid to facilitate overseas Pakistanis, the minister said that this year, the government has introduced a sponsorship Hajj scheme for them.

“Under the scheme, we hope to receive $194 million,” said the religious minister.

He maintained that the government aims to start receiving the Hajj applications from March 16, while the deadline would be March 31. The Hajj draw would be conducted in the first week of April.

He said the overall national quota for this year's Hajj is 179,210 pilgrims, which would be distributed among government and private sectors with a proportion of 50-50.

The minister said that Road to Makkah project facility will continue at Islamabad Airport which is likely to be extended to Lahore and Karachi. 

He claimed that on his personal request, Saudi Arabia has reduced the necessary Hajj duties compared to the previous year.

PIA unveils Hajj 2023 fares

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), on March 4, had 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.

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.