PAKISTANHajj policy 2009 approved,
By Ahmad Hassan
Wednesday, 17 Jun, 2009 | 11:16 PM PST |
ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Hajj Policy-2009 under which over 159,000 Pakistanis would perform Hajj, 80,000 of them would visit under the government scheme and the rest would go under the private Operators’ arrangements.
The cabinet also decided to abolish all special quotas which the present government had carved in last year’s Hajj season to accommodate those pilgrims who had failed to perform Hajj in last two years.
The cabinet also decided that all future imports of urea fertilizers would be made through Gwader sea port.
Briefing newsmen after the cabinet meeting along with minister for information, Minister for Religious Affairs Allama Hamid Saeed Kazmi said that applications for Haj-2009 will be open from June 22 to July 11 under government scheme.
To make the private Hajj tour operators more responsible and to make them accountable for providing proper facilities to the Hajj pilgrims, the cabinet decided to fix a criteria for allocation of quota to different operators.
Under the new criteria, five categories A, B, C, D and F operators will have to deposit Rs.5 million, four million, three million, two million and one million respectively in ministry’s accounts before getting quota of pilgrims.
The minister said that according to the agreement with the Saudi Government, 159,647 Pakistani nationals will perform Hajj this year which is equal to the number that performed Hajj last year.
The government has approached the Saudi government for an additional quota of 10,353 to accommodate maximum Hajj pilgrims.
Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) for filing of Hajj applications is essential while Machine Readable passport will be required from the pilgrims instead of special Hajj passports.
No Hajj application shall be entertained for a repeat Hajj pilgrimage, if the applicant has performed Hajj during thelast five years except in three cases, Mahram of a lady who did not perform Hajj earlier, Group Leader & Haj-e-Badal.
The ballot shall be held on August 6. The minister said that the Hajj Flight Operation will commence from October 20, and will end on November 23.
PIA and Saudi Airlines would be airlifting pilgrims, except from two feeder Airports i.e., Sukkur and Faisalabad all other Airports (Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Sialkot, Rahim Yar Khan) would be used for direct flights to and from Jeddah and Madina, the minister told the media persons.
The Hajj air-fare for Karachi and Quetta stations would be Rs 61,000 while for other stations it would be Rs.73, 000 and the total amount for Hajj would be Rs 185,000 for Karachi and Quetta stations and Rs 200,000 for other stations.
After deduction of compulsory Hajj dues, accommodation charges and special services charges payable to Saudi Agencies, the balance amount in foreign exchange would be provided in cash to intending pilgrims before their departure from Pakistan to meet day-to-day expenses in Saudi Arabia.
No new induction of HGOs will be undertaken for Hajj 2009.