ISLAMABAD: The religious affairs ministry on Wednesday sent the draft of the new Haj policy to the federal cabinet for approval.
In 2017, 179,210 pilgrims will offer Haj and out of them 107,216 will go through the government Haj scheme/government quota.
The move came after the Supreme Court had directed the ministry to make the new Haj policy public by uploading it on its official website within a week.
The court order came from a three-member bench led by Justice Mushir Alam, which was hearing a number of pleas of tour operators who invoked the court jurisdiction over the government’s failure to register them for Hajj quota since 2012, 2013 and 2015.
While talking to The Express Tribune, a senior official who closely worked in drafting the new Haj policy, while requesting anonymity, said that it was expected that the federal minister will announce the policy within a day or two.
“It will be announced as soon as it will get a green signal from the federal cabinet,” said the official.
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He said the policy had been formulated in line with the recommendations given by a high-level ‘Haj policy formulation committee’ constituted by the Supreme Court .
Moreover, suggestions from all stakeholders, officials from leading commercial banks, Haj master trainers and private Haj operators were also incorporated in the draft, said the official.
“The new Haj policy is going to be far better than the one drafted earlier. More focus will be on providing comfort and satisfaction to Pakistani pilgrims,” said the official.
Sharing the details, the official said this year it was expected that 60% pilgrims will perform Haj on government packages and the remaining would go through private Haj operators.
He said compared to previous years this year there would be a slight increase in the prices of government’s Haj packages.
Moreover, three times meal will be provided to all Pakistani pilgrims going through government Haj packages at Mina. Furthermore, their luggage would be directly transported to the place where they would be staying right after going through the immigration procedure, said the official.
The ministry would make it mandatory for all private Haj operators authorised by the government to upload details of pilgrims on the official website of the religious affairs ministry.
“The one who will not follow this direction will be blacklisted by the Ministry of Religious Affairs,” said the official.