Pakistan approves Haj Policy 2018

Islamabad: Pakistan’s federal cabinet on Tuesday approved the Haj Policy 2018, with certain amendments, and decided not to increase Haj dues this year under the Government Haj Scheme.

The decision was announced at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in Islamabad, according to official news agency, APP.

Abbasi has ordered the ministry to provide maximum facilities and the best possible arrangements to the pilgrims.

Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony had finalised the new Haj policy, which is expected to be made public after federal government’s approval this week.

The ministry will start receiving the applications for Government Haj Scheme from mid-January next year, according to a report published in Pakistan Today. The successful intending pilgrims will be selected through balloting in the last week of January.

Pakistan’s Haj 2018 quota is 179,210 and 60 per cent of them will perform pilgrimage through the government’s scheme while the 40 per cent will attend the congregation through private Haj schemes, according to APP.

The Government Scheme Haj applicants of over 75 years of age and those applicants who remained unsuccessful in last three or four consecutive years would be selected for Haj 2018 without any balloting.

Earlier, Abbasi said the approval of the new Haj policy will help the ministry to initiate a timely balloting process of Haj applications to allow the ministry to concentrate on ensuring better Haj arrangements.

The early approval of the policy will help the early release of funds to make necessary arrangements for Pakistani Haj pilgrims.

The services provided to the Pakistani Haj 2018 pilgrims 2018 include:

— Express clearance services at Jeddah and Madinah airports.

— Modern buses to take the pilgrims from the airport to their residences.

— Accommodation at Markazi in Madinah would be provided with 100 per cent accommodation facility.

— Three-time meals assurance at Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat.

— Clean drinking water and a proper cooling system would be provided in every Maktab at Mina.

— Fireproof tents would be given at Arafat.

— Separate washrooms for the disabled would be installed at Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat.

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