VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA: The PTI government has apparently taken a controversial decision by withdrawing Hajj subsidy for Pakistani pilgrims.
According to reports the withdrawal of subsidy, coupled with the increase in the price of dollar against the rupee as well as the rising inflation, Hajj this year will cost nearly a hundred thousand rupees more.
The decision to withdraw subsidy on Hajj has taken some people aback and attracted criticism from the beneficiaries of such subsidy. It is also noted that some sections have approved of the government’s decision.
Hajj is a great spiritual experience for the faithful and one of the five pillars of Islam. Pakistan claims to be an Islamic republic and the very structures of the state are founded on the faith-based principles.
States always act as per their national interest. If subsidising Hajj would fulfil the aspirations of a state in terms of national interests, it would subsidise or otherwise.
The state at the moment is a bit constrained financially as well, and has adopted other belt-tightening measures.
Therefore under the circumstance, it makes perfect time for the government to withdraw the Hajj subsidy. Since nation-states are very strong entities, any criticism or row over this subsidy would itself die down very soon.
Malik Atif Mahmood Majoka
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2019.