Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Pakistan Surrenders Unutilized Hajj Sponsorship Scheme Quota to Saudi Arabia

Pakistan has decided to surrender a significant portion of its Hajj sponsorship scheme quota to Saudi Arabia this year as the number of applications fell short of the available seats.

The government had allocated 25,000 seats in the 'Sponsorship Scheme Hajj', which allows overseas Pakistanis to apply for Hajj or sponsor someone in Pakistan for the journey by paying in US dollars. However, only 4,000 applications were received against the allocated quota of 25,000. The unutilized 21,000 quota will be returned to Saudi Arabia.

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While the government received 69,438 applications in the regular Hajj scheme, 5,633 applicants were declared unsuccessful in the draw. Instead of accommodating these unsuccessful applicants through the government's regular scheme, sources claim that the government opted to refund the amount.

Saudi Arabia had previously restored Pakistan's pre-coronavirus Hajj quota to 179,210 pilgrims, and the upper age limit of 65 years was lifted for performing the pilgrimage. Despite efforts to reduce Hajj expenses and introduce short-term Hajj facilities, the number of applications has dropped this year.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony had to return a significant quota to Saudi Arabia last year due to a decrease in Hajj pilgrims.

The government introduced various packages to attract pilgrims, including both long and short-term options. Additionally, women can now undertake the sacred journey without the traditional requirement of a male companion, and the government will provide free-of-cost mobile SIMs with roaming internet packages.

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Raheel J.M
Raheel J.M
Raheel, a Karachi-based reporter, is at the forefront of political journalism, providing insightful coverage that transcends the bustling landscape of Pakistan's political sphere. With an unwavering commitment to delivering accurate and comprehensive news, Raheel's work is marked by a keen understanding of the intricate dynamics shaping the political landscape.
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