PM for further improving arrangements for Hajj 2017

ISLAMABAD, March 9 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Thursday directed the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony to further improve arrangements for Hajj 2017 by taking initiatives for ensuring better facilities at the minimum possible cost.
He was speaking after getting a detailed briefing regarding arrangements for Hajj 2017 by Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony here at the PM House.
Sardar Muhammad Yusaf, Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony said there was remarkable improvement in arrangements for Hajj in the last three years in line with the vision of the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister appreciated the ministry and its team
lead by the minister for their commendable work and efforts to facilitate the pilgrims.
He said there was always room for further improvement
and directed that the Ministry should strive to make Hajj arrangements more comfortable, better and cost effective. He said visible improvement in facilities provided to Hujjaj in past three years has been acknowledged by all segments of society.
The Prime Minister was informed that the annual Hajj
agreement for the year 2017 had been signed with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the reduction in Hajj quota in 2013 due to expansion of Haram Sharif had been restored from 143,368 to 179,210.
He said the process of hiring of accommodation,
transport, catering and other allied facilities had been initiated. The Saudi Hajj Ministry had also been requested to enhance the country’s quota by at least 15,000 on the basis of current population of Pakistan, the Prime Minister was briefed.
The PM directed that special attention must be given to
making arrangements at the airports, provision of three daily meals at Mina, Arafat and Muzdalfa, and general facilitation for Hujjaj in lodging and travelling.
He said the government would provide all possible
support to the ministry for facilitating the guests of Allah in performing Hajj comfortably and securely. The Ministry of Religious Affairs must discharge its responsibilities with full devotion not only as an official duty but also a religious obligation of the highest order, the Prime Minister said.
Sardar Muhammad Yusaf, Minister for Religious Affairs
said the applications for Government Hajj Scheme increased from 86,919 in 2013 to 280,617 in 2016. He said the over 300 percent increase in applications in three years was a testament of public confidence and trust in Government and its handling of the Hajjis.
It was also approved during the meeting that applicants
who had performed Hajj during the last seven years would not be eligible to apply for Hajj 2017 under Government Scheme while Hajj e Badal would be allowed only through Private Hajj scheme.
The meeting was also attended by Fawad Hassan Fawad,
SPM, Khalid Masood Chaudhary, Secretary, Religious Affairs and
Interfaith Harmony and senior officials.