Senate body directs highlighting parliamentarians’ hajj quota abolishment more effectively

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Interior Ministry denies issuing any circular for local holiday

ISLAMABAD, Jun 21 (APP):Senate Standing Committee on Religious
Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Tuesday appreciated the abolishment
of parliamentarians quota in Government Hajj Scheme and directed the
Ministry of Religious Affairs to highlight the quota abolishing
decision in more effective way.
Chairing the meeting, Hafiz Hamdullah said the ban on
parliamentarians’ quota must continue as parliamentarians cannot
accommodate every approaching person.

Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sardar
Muhammad Yousaf said the parliamentarians’ quota had been abolished
in 2009 by the then cabinet.

He said this year 280,000 applied for government scheme hajj
against the quota of only 71,000.As many as 210,000 people were
failed to win berth in government scheme. It is impossible to adjust
such a huge number of people in any quota.

He said the ministry has also decreased hardship quota from
five to three percent aiming to accommodate more hujjaj under the
government scheme. The main aim of hardship quota was to accommodate broken families, labours and low income peoples.

Minister of State for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony
Pir Amin-ul-Hasnat Shah said Hajj Group Organisers (HGOs) were
earning billions sans any check.They often refuse to comply with the
orders of the ministry including the submission of minimum hajj
package.

Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs Hafiz
Hamdullah directed the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) to spend
income generated from property of minority community to their
welfare only.

He said the committee would hold a meeting in Lahore and visit
sacred places for minorities.

The committee recommended to give legal cover to Ruet-e-Hilal
Committee. The draft law should be shared with the standing
committee on religious affairs for fine tuning and further
improvement before tabling in National Assembly for legislation.

The committee observed that many incumbent members of Ruet-e-
Hilal Committee do not meet the criteria of an Alim.

The Committee also recommended fixing tenure of chairman and
criteria for appointment of the members of Ruet-e-Hilal Committee.
Briefing the committee Director General of the Ministry Noor
Slam Shah said the ministry had prepared a draft law regarding
constitution of Ruet-e-Hilal committee in 2014. Law Ministry advised
that the ministry cannot constitute Ruet e Hilal committee on across
country level after the enactment of 18th amendment.

According to Law ministry only remedy is that the Provincial
Assemblies should pass a resolution in favour of constituting
central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, before constituting the central Ruet-
e-Hilal Committee.

Hafiz Hamdullah recommended to constitute a committee headed
by Minister for Religious Affairs. The members are included State
Minister for Religious Affairs, chairmen of standing committees of
Senate and National Assembly and Secretary Religious Ministry.

the committee should visit four provincial capitals and apprise the
Chief Ministers to expedite presenting a resolution for constituting
central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee.

Briefing the committee Chairman Evacuee Trust Property Board
(ETPB) Siddique-ul-Farooq said the income of ETPB has decreased by
Rs 130 million due to decrease in interest rate.

Siddique-ul-Farooq said Thar Development Authority should be
constituted for resolving the issues of Thar population.Femine was
not the sole reason of killings of children in Thar.

300 additional residential rooms would be constructed in Nankana
Sahib to provide accommodation facilities to visiting Yatrees.

36 residential rooms were being constructed at Katas Raj with the
cost of Rs 360 million.

State Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Amin-ul-Hasnat Shah said the incidents of forced conversion to Islam have registered a marked decrease.