Govt Hints at “Good News” of Lower Hajj Costs

Mufti Abdul Shakoor, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony said on Monday that he will share “good news” for Hajj hopefuls within two to three days, implying that the news could be about the pilgrimage’s expected costs.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony held balloting on Sunday to select successful candidates from among the 63,604 people who applied.

On the basis of the Government Hajj Scheme, the ministry chose 31,253 pilgrims to perform the hajj this year. Concerning the hajj expenses, which the government has yet to share with hopefuls, the minister stated that he would share “good news” in two to three days.

“From day one, I have pointed to provide relief to the people and reduce the cost of the hajj, which had ballooned due to the former PTI government’s inability
,” he tweeted.

The minister went on to say that his most recent trip to Saudi Arabia was a success, as he was able to reduce the cost of the government’s Hajj package by a few hundred thousand rupees, with more details to be revealed at a news conference following the cabinet meeting.

Only 63,604 people applied for the government’s Hajj scheme this year. The figure is significantly lower than the 116,683 applications received in 2019. Due to coronavirus-related restrictions, pilgrims from Pakistan and other countries were unable to perform Hajj in 2020 and 2021. Only Saudi residents were permitted to perform Hajj.

Those chosen for the hajj have been notified via SMS on their listed phone numbers and will be required to complete all health requirements listed by Saudi authorities, including Covid-19 vaccination and booster jabs, as well as a PCR test is taken at least 72 hours before departing for Saudi Arabia.

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