Cabinet approves Hajj Policy 2019, with direction to provide optimum facilities to intending pilgrims

1022

ISLAMABAD, Jan 31 (APP):The Federal Cabinet has accorded approval to Hajj Policy 2019, directing the Religious Ministry to provide optimum facilities to intending pilgrims, desiring to perform the sacred religious
obligation through Government Hajj Scheme.
Briefing media the decisions of Federal Cabinet, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Thursday said that this year the Hajj package would cost Rs 4,36,575 for Northern and Rs 4,26,575 for Southern regions.
For the first time in history intending pilgrims of Balochistan would be airlifted directly from Quetta, he said adding that a temporary Haji camp was being established at Gilgit to facilitate the intending pilgrims of Gilgit-Baltistan. He said that 184,210 Pakistanis would perform the sacred religious obligation this year.

As many as 184, 210 Pakistanis would perform Hajj this year, he said adding that 10,000
seats have been reserved from senior citizens to secure their berth in government Hajj
scheme without balloting.
While 1.5 percent quota is reserved to accommodate hardship cases, he said.  The operations
national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) would start from Quetta and Faisalabad.
The federal cabinet also approved a new policy of granting visa-on-arrival facilities to 50
countries, and an additional provision of e-visas to citizens of 175 countries.
He said that Business visa has been expanded to 98 countries and easy procedure has
been adopted. Journalist visa scheme has been deferred for the time being and it will be announced
after coordination of Information Ministry with Interior Ministry.
He said that Finance Minister Asad Umar briefed the cabinet over the status of national economy.
He said that when the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf came to power, it inherited the economy in critical
condition.
The cabinet was informed that the country collects Rs 5,571 billion tax per annum out of which
Rs 2,000 billion is needed to pay interests of loans. He said that 84 percent debt was increased
during the tenure of previous two governments in past ten years.
He said the federal government used to get more amounts in collected amount before the
enactment of 18th Amendment but now out of every 10 rupees collected through taxes and
non-tax resources, 6 rupees go to provinces.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has changed country’s foreign policy in only six months
altogether. United Arab Emirates (UAE) ruler had visited the country after 12 long years and Saudi
Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman was due this month. Pakistan played an important role in the
dialogue between Washington and Taliban, and if the talks process concludes positively, the entire
region would benefit from peace in Afghanistan, he said.
He said now United States was following the approach of Pakistan Prime Minister who always
advocated dialogue for resolution of Afghanistan issue as he believed that issues could not be
resolved through wars.
He said that Chairman Prime Minister’s Task Force on Civil Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain
presented his Task force’s report on Institutional Reforms. The preliminary findings of task
force included to amend the rules of business so that powers concentrated in Prime Minister
office should be devolved to ministries, he added.
As many as 43 organizations had been declared redundant which would be disbanded in
phases. The report also suggested Civil Service reforms including specialization. The system
of ACR ,concept of superior services, he said would be changed in phases.
He said that Name of one Abdul Momin’s has been excluded from the list of 172 persons
owing to his death while names of other 32 were sent to review committee.
Fawad said that the cabinet also approved the appointment of chairman of the Port
Qasim Authority, the Pak-Libya Holding Company and the managing director of the
National Investment Trust Limited (NITL).
The Cabinet also approved the transfer of Karachi Infrastructure and Development Company
Limited (KIDCL) from Communications Division to Cabinet Division, so that the Prime Minister
could directly monitor its implementation status.
The rules for the appointment of Deputy Governor State Bank Jamil Ahmed were also be
approved by the cabinet, he said.
He said additional grant was approved for payment of outstanding stipend dues of interns
of Prime Minister’s Youth training Programme.
To a question, he said the Government was introducing Protection of Journalist’s Bill to
protect the rights of the working journalists and one objective of constituting new Pakistan Media
Regulatory Authority (PMRA) was to ensure protection of fraternity.
He said that politics of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari had effectively been phased
out.