Seventeen travel agents have gone to court against the religious affairs ministry that fixes Hajj quotas.
They claim that even though they had applied, the government had not given them the allocations.
If this is not done in time, argued their lawyer Shoua-un-Nabi, people intending to go on the pilgrimage will face problems.
He told the court that since this government had come to power, the quota for Hajj operators had been problematic and the process had been marred by corruption over the last two years.
Several cases are in court already.
The Sindh High Court’s Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Aftab Ahmed Gorar asked the ministry to explain itself on August 2.
There are 729 Hajj operators or organisers currently registered in the country. Out of them 200 work in Karachi.
The last Hajj quota for the entire country was 180,000 and half of them were taken care of by private operators. The quota per company ranges from a minimum of 50 to a maximum of 300 pilgrims.
About 2,000 companies have applied to the ministry of religious affairs for the quotas. But the ministry has told a court that only about 25% of them meet the standard.
Private operators entered the business eight years ago prior to which the government had a complete monopoly over the process.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2012.
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