Hajj cost further jacks up due to Saudi fee

Published: January 26, 2020
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS Pilgrims walk on a street in Makkah during the first day of Hajj. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LAHORE: After a possible hike in the cost of government’s Hajj package, Saudi Arabia has also announced to impose an additional fee of Rs16,000 – raising the minimum cost of Hajj this year to around Rs566,000.

The Ministry of Religious Affair on Thursday told a Senate panel that cost of Hajj might increase this year Rs115,000 because of hike in the US dollar’s exchange rate and rising airfares.

After the increase in the Hajj package, the cost of government Hajj package for northern region would increase to Rs550,000 and that of the southern region to Rs545,000. The cost of government Hajj package last year was Rs433,000.

However, the cost is likely to further increase as, according to sources in the ministry, the Saudi government has also imposed an additional fee of Riyal 410 on every pilgrim on account of visa and insurance charges. Now Pakistani pilgrims will have to pay an extra Rs16,000.

This fee includes Riyal 300 visa fee and Riyal 110 insurance fee.

The sources said the Ministry of Religious Affairs had asked Saudi authorities to exempt Pakistan from the fee. However, Riyadh turned down the request, saying that the fee was imposed on all Islamic countries and not just Pakistan.

The ministry official said they were in touch with the Saudi government and still trying to reduce the expenses. The Saudi government is already receiving a 5 per cent value-added tax on all facilities.

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