ISLAMABAD - Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Senator Muhammad Talha Mahmood on Thursday released the post-Hajj statistics, highlighting the successful efforts to provide enhanced facilities to the pilgrims despite expansion projects and logistical challenges at the holy sites.
He, in a press conference held here in the ministry, praised the accomplishments in catering to the needs of the pilgrims during the annual Islamic pilgrimage. According to the data presented, 78% of the honored pilgrims were accommodated in close proximity to the holy city of Madina, ensuring ease of access to the religious sites. Furthermore, 63% of the pilgrims were provided with the convenience of Mashair Train to travel to Mina, while 47% enjoyed their stay in old Mina.
Senator Talha, expressing his satisfaction at successfully meeting these objectives, confirmed that all government-sponsored pilgrims received a refund of 55,000 rupees towards the cost of the animal sacrifice performed during the Hajj rituals, as promised earlier. Moreover, due to effective cost-saving measures, the pilgrims were set to receive a partial refund in their Hajj expenses, a fact lauded by the minister. “As per the financial reimbursements, all govt-sponsored pilgrims would receive an additional refund of Rs. 97,000 per person. Those who faced difficulties in securing accommodations in Madina would be refunded Rs.111,000 and those who lacked the opportunity to use Mashair Train to be reimbursed Rs.118,000 rupees. Similarly, pilgrims who had to stay far from central locations in Madina and were unable to access train service would receive Rs.132,000 as compensation,” he disclosed.
He also highlighted the commitment to the welfare of the pilgrims, with a total of approximately Rs.16.5 billion being allocated for further reimbursements to the honored pilgrims under the government’s Hajj package. In a promising development, Senator Talha announced that next week, the transfer of funds to the respective bank accounts of the pilgrims would begin, ensuring a smooth and efficient refund process. The minister, highlighting achievements of the ministry, acknowledged the extraordinary performance by Secretary Dr Aftab Akbar Durrani and Director General Hajj Abdul Wahab Somroo, who made pilgrimage a success despite challenging circumstances.