ISLAMABAD - Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Mufti Abdul Shakoor on Saturday held a comprehensive meeting with Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar and discussed Hajj Policy 2023, Hajj Sponsorship Scheme, payment of funds to Saudi Arabia and Federally Administered Tribal Areas reforms.
According to the official sources in the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, the finance minister had hinted at arranging a foreign exchange for Hajj despite the difficult economic situation in the country. They said the finance minister had assured all possible support to the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony for Hajj arrangements, adding that the government would take all possible measures for the ease and convenience of Allah Almighty’s guests. The sources said Hajj Sponsorship Scheme was only for overseas Pakistanis or their relatives. Pakistanis remitting foreign exchange from abroad to the designated accounts would be able to benefit from this scheme, they maintained.
They said it was decided in principle to fix the quota of Hajj Sponsorship Scheme at 50 percent while the other 50 percent quota for public and private Hajj scheme. The religious affairs ministry’s sources said under the regular Hajj Scheme, Hajj applications would be collected in designated Pakistani banks as per expost. They also hinted that the estimated Hajj expenses at current dollar rates were between Rs1.1 or 1.2 million.
They said the religious affairs minister would formally announce receipt of Hajj applications after approval from the federal cabinet next week. Receipt of the Government Hajj Scheme applications would likely to start from March 13, the sources concluded. Also, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar vowed to extend maximum support and cooperation to facilitate the Hajjis in order to make the religious event successful. He was presiding over a meeting on Hajj Policy-2023 in Islamabad. The Finance Minister said Hajj is a sacred obligation to be performed by every Muslim and we have to contribute our part for the blessings of Almighty Allah. During the meeting, Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Mufti Abdul Shakoor informed the Finance Minister about certain issues related to foreign exchange and sought his support.
The meeting was apprised on the Hajj-2023 policy, expected number of Pakistanis applied to perform Hajj. It was informed that more than 179,000 Pakistanis are expected for Hajj this year.