Hajj policy insights

Regarding the Hajj policy an­nounced on Thursday, No­vember 16, Religious Affairs Min­ister Aneeq Ahmed states that the goal is to receive the prayers of pil­grims. The official Hajj package for 2024 will be cheaper than last year by Rs. Women can apply with­out Muharram, but those who per­formed Hajj in the last five years, except sponsored pilgrims, are in­eligible due to the 5-year ban.

A notable change introduces a short Hajj package lasting 20 to 25 days, including a three to five-day facility with an 8-day stay in Madinah, and reduced expens­es. There will be no provision for free Hajj. The regular government scheme accepts Hajj applications from November 27 to December 12, with a first-come, first-served basis for sponsorship until the quota is filled. Successful appli­cants will be determined by lot in the third week of December. The Hajj quota for Pakistan is set at 1 lakh 79 thousand 210, divided equally between government and private schemes.

The pricing for the regular long Hajj package is specified at 10 lakh 75 thousand rupees for the north­ern region and 10 lakh 65 thou­sand for the southern region. The short regular Hajj package (20 to 25 days) will cost Rs 11 lakh 50 thousand for the northern region and Rs 11 lakh 40 thousand for the southern region. Sponsoring Hajj requires sending foreign exchange from abroad. Departures from Ka­rachi Airport will be included in the Road to Makkah, while nego­tiations are underway for pilgrims from Lahore Airport. The expec­tations are that the Hajj arrange­ments will be conducive for pil­grims to offer their prayers.

MUHAMMAD AMIN,

Kech.

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