Pilgrims complaints

HAJJ, the world’s largest congregation has concluded successfully and peacefully and now pilgrims are returning to their homelands after discharging this religious obligation. As before, this year too about 2.5 million faithful gathered at Makkah Mukarramah and performed Hajj in a smooth and orderly environment, thanks to the arrangements made by the Saudi government.
Pakistan Hajj Advisory Committee at its post-Hajj meeting in Makkah has declared this year’s Hajj operation successful. The meeting chaired by Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made by the government for Hujjaj regarding transport, accommodation and the food. However, some reports in local media in Pakistan speak of certain problems faced by Pakistani pilgrims this year including substandard food and deficient transport. Clarifying the situation, the Minister said that arranging food, transport and accommodation for Hujjaj in Mashaer was responsibility of Saudi Agency Moassasah South Asia. He said the matter has been taken up with the Chairman of Moassasah South Asia who was briefed about the problems faced by Pakistani Hujjaj. However, the decision to return 250 Saudi Riyal each to fifty eight thousand Pakistani pilgrims who were not provided with train tickets and had to rely on buses which were not enough in number for movement between Mashaer, is itself an acknowledgement of complaints and problems during the Hajj operation. The Ministry of Religious Affairs earned kudos during the last three years for making foolproof arrangements and that is why the number of applicants desiring to perform Hajj under government scheme is increasing every year. It is also to be noted that the government reduced the hajj package from three hundred and thirty six thousand rupees to about two hundred and eighty thousand rupees. In this reduced package, the Hujjaj have been given three times meal. Some problems do occur due to coordination issues but it is satisfying that the Ministry was aware of its weaknesses and hopefully the situation would improve in years to come based on latest experience.

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