87419 applicants selected for government scheme Hajj through draw

APP16-28 ISLAMABAD: April 28 - Federal Minister for Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony, Sardar Muhammad balloting for the Hajj-2017. APP photo by Saeed-ul-Mulk

ISLAMABAD April 28 (APP): Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony here Friday selected 87419 applicants for Hajj 2017 under government scheme by holding a computerized draw.
Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sardar Muhammad Yousaf initiated the computerized balloting along with officials of the ministry.
While earlier addressing a press conference, the minister said this year 179, 210 Pakistanis will perform Hajj.
Under the government scheme 107, 526 pilgrims will perform Hajj while 71000 citizens will go for Hajj through arrangements made by private Hajj operators.
Under the Hajj policy 2017, the government announced 60 percent quota for pilgrims under the government scheme and 40 percent quota for private Hajj operators.
Due to a court case filed by private Hajj operators over cut in their quota, the ministry held draw only against 50 percent of its quota.
Applicants for the remaining 10 percent quota will be decided after the court decision.
This year, the ministry received 338,696 applications through ten designated banks in a ten-day period from April 17 to 26.
The minister said the Prime Minister gave approval of names of 197 applicants, who were older than 90 years, without any draw.
The elderly pilgrims will also take along one attendant who will also be exempted from balloting.
Sardar Yousaf told that the ministry received more applications than in the year 2016 in which 280,000 persons applied.
While 270,000 persons applied in the year 2015.
“Since 2013, the government had been receiving more applications than the previous years, because of the improvements in the arrangements of Hajj under the government scheme.”
He said it was matter of satisfaction for the government that people were happy with the arrangements made by it for Hajj.
He said the money received from applicants through banks will be held in a Shariah account.
The applicants who were selected in the draw would be informed through text messages. They can also check their names by visiting
the website of the ministry.
The successful applicants have to submit their passports to the banks by May 10 while the unsuccessful applicants can take back their money from the banks without any further approval from the ministry, the minister explained.
He informed that the Hajj operation will start from Zil Qaad 1 and will be completed by October 6.
The 50 percent of the pilgrims will first go to Makkah while other 50 percent will start the pilgrimage by coming to Madinah.