ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Ahmad Shah on Monday informed the National Assembly that the government has received around Rs21 billion from intending pilgrims for Hajj 2012.
Replying to various supplementary questions during a question hour session, he said that despite various expenditures incurred on the welfare of Hujjaj during the last five years, an amount of about Rs1.2 billion was present in Hujjaj Welfare Fund account.
The minister said that the highest amount was spent from the welfare fund during 2011 to compensate around 25,000 Hujjaj on the directives of the Supreme Court. He further said that an amount of Rs320 million was paid to the Hujjaj on the directives of the Apex Court.
He also said that initially every Haji was charged 100 Riyal for train-fare, however, last year when train-fare was fixed at 250 Riyal each by the Saudi Government. The minister said that the Religious Ministry, instead of charging the Hujjaj, paid Rs350 million from the welfare fund on the directives of the President and the Prime Minister.
Explaining measures taken to facilitate Hajis, Shah pointed out that this was the first time an insurance scheme had been started for Hajis (reference to last year’s insurance scheme) and Rs 300,000 was paid to each heir of the deceased Hujjaj. He further said that the strength of doctors and paramedics staff had also been increased to extend maximum facilities to the Hujjaj.
The minister added that efforts were being made to provide mobile tracker system to the Hujjaj for the forthcoming Hajj. He said that a sum of Rs2,144,403,839 was spent for the welfare of Hujjaj during the last five years.
Giving the break up, he said, Rs135,601,317 had been spent in 2007-08, Rs163,985,927 for 2008-09, Rs166,298,300 in 2009-10, Rs191,148,594 in 2010-11 and Rs1,487,369,701 in 2011-12.
While replying to a question, the minister said that a total of 179,210 Hujjaj (which include 89,605 under government and private Hajj schemes) would perform Hajj in 2012.
With regards to air travel to and from Saudi Arabia, he said that Shaheen Air International, Saudi Arabian Airlines and NAS Air were also engaged besides PIA for Hajj 2012.
To another question he replied that funds have been allocated to all Hajj Directorates in Pakistan for the welfare of Hujjaj during Hajj 2012. The main sources of collection of Pilgrim Welfare Fund was the Rs269,065,500 in service charges collected by the ministry for both government and Hajj Group Organisers in 2011.