40,000 buildings hired for Hajis

Govt scheme Hajj applications to be received by May 11

Staff Reporter

Islamabad—Applications under Government Hajj Scheme will be received from May 2 till May 11, on a first come first serve basis, by the designated branches of 11 Pakistani banks throughout the country. Besides compulsory Hajj dues, all the applicants are required to present their CNIC issued by NADRA along with the application form, machine readable international passport which should be valid up to April 21, 2013 or receipt of passport application issued by the immigration and passport office, 12 photographs of 4x3 cm size in light blue background and medical certificate issued by a medical officer, said a press release issued here on Tuesday.

In case of women, Mahrams name and relationship must also be highlighted in the relevant column of the application form. A total of 179,210 Pakistanis will perform Hajj during the current year. Half of them will perform Hajj under the government scheme while the rest privately. Keeping in view the distance of residence from Haram Sharif, opted by the intending pilgrims of government scheme, they have been divided into Green, Blue and White categories. The intending pilgrims, who would be ask for residential facilities within 900 meters of Haram Sharif, would be placed in the Blue category.

The Green category residences will be located from 901 to 2000 meters from Haram Sharif. White category pilgrims would be provided residences from over 2,000 meters from Haram Sharif. The white category pilgrims belonging to South region i.e. Karachi, Sahkhar and Quetta will have to pay Rs 221,000. The same area people of Green category will have to pay Rs 256,000 and of Blue category the amount is Rs 319,000. The pilgrims from North regions i.e. Lahore, Multan, Islamabad, Peshawar etc will have to pay Rs 233,000 for white category, Rs 268,000 for Green category and Rs 331,000 for the Blue category.

The Hujaj will be airlifted by four air carriers PIA, Shaheen Air International, Saudi Airline and NasAir. Airfare for Haj-2012 as finalised with PIA will be Rs 73,000 for the south region and Rs 85,000 for the north region. Any person who has performed Hajj during the last five years will not be eligible to perform Haj in 2012 except Mehram, group leader or the anyone undertaking Haj-e-Badal. Five percent of the total seats under government scheme will be reserved for hardship cases, applicants belonging to far-flung and rural areas of Gilgit Baltistan, Balochistan and remote and rural areas of Sindh and Punjab and pilgrims recommended and funded by charitable institutions, labour and low paid employees of different public sector organisations and corporate entities under the concept of corporate social responsibility, etc.

A four-member special committee headed by Director General Haj has so far hired a total of 40,000 buildings for the intending pilgrims of Haj-2012. An official of the Ministry of Religious Affairs told APP that the quota to Haj group organisers would be granted on merit and the culture of intercession has already been exterminated.

He said the designated branches of the banks would start receiving Haj applications on first come first serve basis from Wednesday. The applications could be deposited at National Bank of Pakistan, Muslim Commercial Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Habib Bank, Faisal Bank, Agricultural Development Bank, United Bank, Bank of Punjab, First Women Bank, JS Bank and Allied Bank of Pakistan. In the application forms Machine Readable Passport (MRP) number or the receipt of MRP should be submitted.

He said the Haj expenditures have been increased only by Rs 21000 due to appreciation in the price of Saudi Riyal, inflation and increase in petroleum prices. The media reports of Rs 100,000 increase in Haj expenditures are totally wrong and baseless, he said.

Meanwhile, private Haj group organisers have demanded uniform rates of Haj fares of all four airlines. He said the representatives of Haj group organisers should also be included in the official monitoring teams for prompt redressal of Hujjaj. A representative of Haj group organisers said the price of Maulam draft has also been increased from Rs 28400 to Rs 42000. He urged the private Hajj organizers to offer affordable Haj packages. He said the Umra operation should also be handed over to ministry of religious affairs.

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