Increase in Hajj quota

SAUDI Arabia’s cabinet has approved an increase in number of Muslims who could perform Hajj this year. The 800,000 increase will bring total number of pilgrims to 2.6m as against over 1.86m last year. It has all along been policy and effort of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to accommodate more and more pilgrims and take measures for their comfortable stay in the holy land.
With this in view, the Kingdom has periodically been increasing capacity of both Harmain in Makkah Mukarramah and Madina Munawwarah. The Saudi Government has spent billions of Riyals on expansion of projects in the two holy cities and it was because of latest expansion that quota of pilgrims was reduced by 20% for each country in 2013. Saudis always managed Hajj effectively but arrangements for 2016 were rated to be excellent by all those who performed the annual ritual. Restoration of the quota and increase in number of pilgrims by about eight hundred thousand means Saudis are now confident to handle more people in coming Hajj. There are also reports that Saudi Government has invited all Muslim countries for consultations on next Hajj including Iran and hopefully all countries would cooperate enthusiastically in making the exercise smooth for the sake of benefit and facilitation of pilgrims. Saudi Government has allocated a quota of 1,000 pilgrims per one million population for every country and going by this formula Pakistan can expect reasonable increase in number if data of Population Census beginning in March becomes available well in time. In any case, Ministry of Religious Affairs, which made good arrangements last year, will be required to handle the increased numbers and take necessary steps to maintain standard this year as well.

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