Aiding pilgrims: Cabinet approves Hajj Policy 2012 unanimously

Published: April 26, 2012

Hajj scheme to be implemented through govt scheme and private Hajj organisers.

ISLAMABAD: 

The Federal Cabinet on Wednesday gave its unanimous approval to the Hajj Policy and Plan 2012.

“After the signing of the bilateral annual agreement between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the Hajj Policy 2011 has been reviewed and modified after in-depth analysis and consultation with all stakeholders through Hajj workshops at Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Quetta,” stated Minister for Information & Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira during a joint press conference along with Religious Affairs Minister Syed Khursheed Shah at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat.

While giving details of the Hajj policy, Syed Khursheed Shah said the Hajj quota for 2012 will remain 179,210 and Hajj scheme-2012 shall be implemented through the Government Scheme and Private Hajj Group Organisers (HGOs) according to a 50:50 ratio.

He said that applications under the Government Hajj Scheme shall be received on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Shah added that the aforementioned applications will be invited through designated banks and intending pilgrims may apply in a group of 10-25 through a group leader.

Any person who has performed Hajj during the last five years will not be eligible to perform Hajj in 2012 except for group leaders, those qualifying as ‘mehram’, or those undertaking Hajj-e-Badal.

Under the Government Hajj Scheme, three categories of accommodation will be arranged by the Pakistan Hajj Mission in Jeddah. These are the Blue category – within 900 meters without transport and a rental ceiling of Saudi Riyals (SR) 7500 – the Green category – within 2000 meters with transport and a SR5000 rental ceiling – and the White Category – beyond 2000 meters with transport and a SR3600 rental ceiling.

Pilgrims will not be required to pay any Personal Exchange Quota under the Government scheme.

Khursheed Shah further said that pilgrims will be airlifted by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Shaheen Air International, Saudi Airlines and Nas Air. He added that airfare for Hajj-2012, finalised with PIA, will be Rs73,000 for the southern region and Rs85,000 for the northern region.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2012.

Reader Comments (8)

  • Hasan Awan
    Apr 26, 2012 - 9:15AM

    This year more than 179,000 people from poor country Pakistan will go for a pilgrimage. If an average pilgrim will spent 100,000 Rs Approx then this amounts to more than 18 Billion rupees. If 18 billion is divided on an annual basis then this accounts for 1.5 billion monthly and 5 crore rupees daily and it is enough to provide food and shelter to more than a Million ( 10 Lakh) poor people.

    Anyway this thought in Pakistan will be considered a profanity but in my view as long as we are poor we dont need Hajj ( Pilgrimage) .If we consider whole of Pakistan as one community and one family then Upon Poor families in Islam there is no obligation of Pilgrimage (Hajj) as long as our country our family that is all Pakistanis will not be affluent enough Hajj could not be an Obligation.
    This is my opinion and it would be crazy for some people and anyone have the right to disagree with me.

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  • Hakeem
    Apr 26, 2012 - 11:57AM

    Actually the question in my mind is that how much is govt making money out of each hajj on account of taxes, levies, withholdings, tariff, surcharges, etc. etc.

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  • Apr 26, 2012 - 12:03PM

    @Hasan Awan:
    Hajj is an obligation on each & every Muslim who can afford and leave a certain amount for his family back. It is the 5th pillar of Islam and your religion does not get’s completed if you do not perform Hajj in your lifetime (repeating – when having enough resources). For the poor in the society – Islam has made ZAKAT mandatory so that money is kept in circulation.

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  • Ali
    Apr 26, 2012 - 12:07PM

    I guess people should stop buying cars and all other luxury things which others can not afford.
    This is Allahs right and stop interfering in it!

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  • Abdullah
    Apr 26, 2012 - 12:15PM

    @Hasan Awan, Hajj is not associated with someone being poor or not. There are muslims who have much more than the amount needed for Hajj in Pakistan and abroad, but they haven’t been able to perform one of the five basic pillars of Islam. The ones who are poor don’t have the obligation to perform, only those who have enough to go, need to. As far as food and shelter provision from the amount being spent on Hajj is concerned, there are many more activities which if controlled, this can be achieved. An analysis on the amount spent on restaurants, hotels etc. can be done and I am sure you will be sending all Pakistanis for Hajj along with food and shelter for the remaining if this is controlled :)

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  • Its (still) Econonmy Stupid
    Apr 26, 2012 - 2:19PM

    IMF funds and US AID at work. This is how Saudi get there aid money back. The best hajj is to help a living being who is in need.

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  • TruePak
    Apr 26, 2012 - 6:10PM

    @Hasan Awan: This is by far the most illogical argument I have ever read. If this is the case then you shouldn’t have the right to own a computer since it can help our poor Pakistani brothers. The computer you are typing from can feed families for months. Please get some education (islamic and general) before try to act like a liberal, secular, and wannabe humanitarian. Stop the fashion shows that you seculars enjoy so much, close down all the fancy restaurants and designer shops, stop driving luxury cars. Why must you attack religion before fixing other problems. The religion is not the problem, it is people like you who want to make our religion the problem. Now go back to the street corner have your afternoon chai, sutta, paan, then try to chat with some western girls online, and go back to sleep while rest of the world surpasses you spiritually and technologically.

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  • nasr
    May 5, 2012 - 8:48AM

    The basic problem in this country in particullar and contemporary muslim world in general is that polarization runs deep and parallel like the track of a railway line and never converge. For Hassan Awan, I would suggest to study the subject of Hajj from Quran & Hadith and your canvas would be so broadened that you would wish to go for Hajj every year.

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