ISLAMABAD: Most of the people selected to perform Hajj under the government scheme have not withdrawn their applications. Only 225 applicants out of 79,647 people selected for Hajj have applied to get their names dropped from the final list, which comes out to just over 0.28 per cent.
Raja Aftab, an official at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, said on Friday that 600 applicants on the waiting had also withdrawn their names from consideration, which brings the total number of withdrawals to 825 so far.
“It is quite possible that more intending pilgrims from the calamity-hit areas will request to have their names dropped in the coming days,” he said.
Expectations were high that a large number of people would withdraw from the 2010 Hajj due to the massive flooding of Pakistan’s landmass that affected about 20 million people, according to estimates. There were even speculations that some people would withdraw their applications and instead donate the money for flood-relief activities. But that has not happened.
Aftab said applicants already selected for Hajj 2010 will have to approach the ministry directly for reimbursement of their money. However, he added, those on the waiting list can approach the bank branches where they had submitted their applications for a full refund.
“The ministry would ensure 100 per cent reimbursement as soon as it receives an application for withdrawal,” Aftab said. Candidates that failed to make the final list after balloting will be approached for the spots that open up, Aftab added.
The ministry had selected 68,800 intending pilgrims through computerised balloting that was done on August 11. Applicants who had not succeeded in computerised ballots in the past two years and those that failed to perform Hajj last year due to the negligence of their Hajj Group Organisers were automatically selected, bringing the total number of people performing Hajj through the government scheme to 79,647 Hujjaj.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2010.
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