Govt mulls Hajj subsidy, but warns pilgrims of ‘problems’ ahead



Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Senator Talha Mahmood has expressed the hope that the government may give subsidy to the intending Hajis but warned the pilgrims that they could face “problems” during the pilgrimage. Talking to a private Tv on Sunday, Talha Mahmood maintained that the expensive Hajj could cost much less but for that they have to bring down the expenditures.

The minister said “I am hopeful of extending some subsidy to the intending Hajis. However, we are facing a number of difficulties at the moment.” He warned that there could be plenty of problem during the Hajj but he is trying to give maximum relief to the pilgrims. The minister recalled that the federal government and the Ministry of Religious Affairs had given a subsidy of around Rs150,000 to pilgrims during last year’s Hajj.

“There is no subsidy this time but if we are able to lower our costs then we can give back that amount of money to the pilgrims,” he elaborated. Talha Mahmood further said “If God gives me another opportunity then the next year’s Hajj will be conducted excellently. But at the moment, our policy is not right as there are many loopholes in the Hajj plan.” While expressing displeasure about Aviation Ministry’s approach, the minister said “PIA wants the government to use its service for transportation of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia but I am not satisfied with their service.”—INP