New Hajj policy likely by end of March

Staff Reporter

Islamabad—Ministry of Religious Affairs and Inter Faith Harmony is likely to announce Hajj Policy 2016 in last week of the current as the draft policy is being given final touches right now. Official sources in the Ministry told APP that the draft policy would soon be sent to federal cabinet for final approval.
Hajj policy would be announced after getting cabinet’s approval, he said adding that Pakistan’s suspended Hajj quota has not yet be restored and 143,000 luck persons would perform hajj this year including fifty percent through government and same through private scheme.
Hajj facilities being offered to Pakistani Hujjaj were not only inexpensive but also better as compared to other Islamic countries including Iran, Turkey and Indonesia. He said the ministry was persistently persuading Hajj Group Organisers (HGOs) to decrease exorbitant private hajj packages. The ministry had issued a Hajj Survey Form with the aim to ascertain HGOs’ profit ratio. It is generally alleged that most of the Hajj Group Organisers (HGOs) were earning from Rs 50,000 to Rs 100,000 per Haji profit.
HGOs earn from Rs 300,000 to Rs 400,000 on VIP hajj. As a result of this exercise, he said, hopefully HGOs will introduce affordable packages during Hajj 2016. Responding to a question, he said the ministry had constituted Complaint Disposal Committee (CDC) to promptly dispose off complaints, adding that the ministry plans strict action against the HGO, who had violated the agreement inked with private scheme hujjaj. It may be mentioned here that Hajj had been made costly since the introduction of HOGs. There was no private Hajj before the year 2004.
Previous government had allotted quota to 721 HGOs for five years, which had been expired in 2015, he said. To another question, he said the ministry has paid compensation to the heirs of 74 out of 80 Mina incident deceased. Only six cases are still pending due to legal complications. They would be paid compensation after removal of complications. The families of each killed Mina haji would be paid a total of Rs 1 million.
The additional compensation of Rs 500,000 had been announced by Prime Minister. While Rs 500,000 compensation is announced for each haji on natural death in Saudi Arabia during Hajj. According to official sources, the ministry would soon start paying additional compensation to legal heirs of each deceased hujjaj of Mina Stampede.
As per Hajj policy-2015, Rs 50,000 is paid to a haji in case of permanent disability of one limb and Rs 100,000 in case of permanently disability of both limbs, while 300,000 is paid in case of emergency evacuation due to illness. It merits mentioning here that a number of hujjaj pass away due to health problems, road accidents, etc every year. And 93 hujjaj were died in 2013, 87 in 2014.

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