Government to Hold Draw for Regular Hajj Scheme Today

Thu Dec 28 2023
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ISLAMABAD: With around 179,000 Pakistanis expected to visit Saudi Arabia for Haj due in 2024, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony will hold the draw for the regular Haj scheme today (December 28).

The ministry said that more than 66,000 applications were received in the regular Haj scheme. The statement comes as the extended application submission deadline for the regular scheme expired on Friday.

The ministry spokesperson announced that the application submission deadline for the sponsorship scheme has been extended till December 31, 2023 in response to the requests made by overseas Pakistanis.

The government, in its efforts to attract valuable foreign exchange in the wake of depleting forex reserves, has allocated 25,000 seats in the sponsorship scheme and those paying their dues in dollars from abroad will be declared as “winners” without balloting. The ministry had earlier received only 2,800 Haj applications in the sponsorship scheme.

Additionally, the Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) had instructed airlines to submit their Haj flight schedule by January 2, 2024. The Pakistani government has also announced the launch of a mobile application specifically designed to digitalise Haj next year.

ALSO READ: Saudi Arabia Starts Registration for Foreign Pilgrims for Hajj 2024

The application — developed by the National Information Technology Board (NITB) — will provide information that is collected from the application form i.e., personal information, Mehram information, helper information, group information, additional facilities, Haj dues, nominee information, and applicant’s bank account details.

Pilgrims can also access information online about their Hajj group, including group members’ details. It is to mention that half of the 179,000 Haj seats reserved for Pakistanis are for private Hajj operators.

Around 89,605 Pakistanis are expected to perform Hajj under the government scheme which will cost around Rs1,075,000 — Rs100,000 less than that of the year 2023.

Furthermore, Pakistan has also introduced both long- and short-term packages spanning over 38-42 and 20-25 days.

Meanwhile, women, for the first time in history, will have the opportunity to undertake the sacred journey without the traditional requirement of a male companion (Mehram).



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