Hajj process


AFTER two years of disruption caused by the Covid-19, people will have an opportunity to perform Hajj this year and applications from intending pilgrims have been invited from May 01 to 13.

Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Mufti Abdul Shakoor, who made the announcement at a news conference on Friday, however, was unable to provide details of expenditure for want of vital clarifications from the Saudi Government.

The resumption of Hajj is, indeed, a welcome development but it is understood that the country will have a toned down quota as only 81,132 would be performing Hajj from Pakistan as against 200,000 in 2019.

The quota would be further divided on a 40:60 basis for Government-sponsored and private Hajj organizers respectively, which means a limited number of people would be able to make it to the ballot.

As per estimates, the cost is likely to be anywhere between 0.7 million to one million rupee and the exorbitant expenditure itself would serve as a check on the numbers.

The new Minister deserves appreciation for the decision under which applicants will have to deposit only a token amount of Rs.50,000 at the time of registration and the remaining amount would be received only from successful applicants.

This arrangement has been made because of non-availability of actual cost but this is a good decision and should be a regular feature every year.

As Hajj is going beyond the reach of the common man, ways and means should be found to bring down the cost drastically, maybe by reducing the duration of stay in the holy land by increasing the number of flights for Hajj operation.