ISLAMABAD: Soon after getting a green signal from the federal cabinet on Thursday, the ministry of religious affairs has announced to hold the much-awaited and delayed second Hajj balloting for the remaining 10% intending pilgrims on Friday.
“Now the ministry will carryout Hajj balloting, selecting only 375 intending pilgrims in the general category," said an official privy to the development.
"The federal government has exempted all 12,623 applicants who had been applying for the past three years consecutively, and other 7400 intending pilgrims aged 80 and above, from the balloting process".
The official added that now the applicants who got exemption from the balloting process will perform Hajj without going through any selection process.
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The ministry carried out Hajj balloting on March 1 in which the names of 87,813 people were announced. Due to the delay in announcing the final quota, fate of the remaining 280,000 families was hanging in the balance.
Earlier, the federal cabinet approved 67 per cent under the government scheme and 33 per cent for private tour operators, which was later challenged in the high court in different cities. However, the Islamabad High Court ordered to keep the quota 60 per cent for the government scheme and 40 per cent for tour operators.
The ministry has also filed a review petition in the apex court, requesting an increase in the Hajj quota from 60 per cent to 67 per cent.
“If the top court gives decision in favour of the ministry, then Hajj balloting for the further 7 per cent intending pilgrims will be conducted,” the official said.
Meanwhile, an official of the ministry said they are "making all out efforts to provide best possible accommodation, transportation and food to the intending pilgrims," said an official.
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