179,210 pilgrims to perform Hajj 2107

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ISLAMABAD, Apr 12 (APP): A total of 179,210 pilgrims will proceed to holy Makkah to perform Hajj during 2017 after the federal cabinet in its meeting on Wednesday accorded its approval for the new Hajj Policy.
It is worth mentioning that earlier during 2013 the Pakistan’s Hajj quota was reduced by 20 per cent but with approval for the new Hajj policy it now stood restored, it was announced by Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf during a press conference here.
Giving the details, the minister said 60 per cent intending pilgrims would perform Hajj under Government Scheme while 40 per cent under Private Hajj Group Organizers (HGOs).
“A total of 107,526 and 71,684 pilgrims will perform Hajj under the Government and HGOs schemes respectively,”he said.
Sardar Yousaf said under the Government Scheme, Hajj applications would be received from April 17 to 26 while draw would be held on April 28.
He said specific branches of 10 banks including Habib Bank, Unite Bank, National Bank, Muslim Commercial Bank, Allied Bank, Zari Taraqati Bank, Bank Alfalah, Meezan Bank, Bank of Punjab and Habib Metropolitan Bank would receive the applications. However, these banks would kept the amount in the Sharia Accounts only, he added.
Sardar Yousaf said expenses for South Region (Karachi, Quetta, Sukkur) would be Rs.270,000 and Rs 280,000 for North Region (Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa).
The minister said applicants who have performed Hajj during the last seven years would not be eligible to apply for Hajj 2017 under the government scheme. Similarly for private Hajj schemes, the limit would be last five years, he said.
He said the step was taken to give maximum chance to new pilgrims who have not perform Hajj earlier.
He said Hajj-e-Badal would be allowed through private Hajj operators only.
He said three times a day free cooked meals would be provided to the pilgrims in Mashair (Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah).
Yousaf said 100 per cent accommodation in Markazia in Madina and Azazzia in Makkah would be ensured while round the clock transport service would also be provided to the Hujjaj from their accommodation to Haram Sharif.
He said express clearance services at Jeddah and Madina airports, modern buses to transport pilgrims from the airport to their residences, filtered water, effective cooling systems in each maktab in Mina, fireproof tents at Arafat would also be provided to the pilgrims. Train service would be provided to maximum pilgrims in Mashair, he said.
The minister said a comprehensive awareness and training programs would also be launched for the intending pilgrims.
The pilgrims would be airlifted through nominated airlines including PIA, Saudi Airline, Shaheen Airline and Airblue.
Responding to a question, he said no free hajj would be performed to any one. All quotas have been abolished, he added.
However, he said for the welfare of Hujjaj, 450 officials of medical mission, 450 helpers and 270 officials of the ministry would be deputed in Saudi Arabia.
To another question, he said emergency plan was also being chalked out to cope with emergency situation.
State Minister Pir Aminul Hasnat and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.