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LAHORE: Shia women may proceed for Haj without “mehram” from this year as religious affairs ministry has assured the Lahore High Court of incorporating requirements of Fiqh-i-Jafria in the new Haj policy.

In a recent hearing of a petition questioning discriminatory treatment meted out to Shia pilgrims by the ministry in Haj process, Lahore Haj Director Saeed Ahmad Malik stated before the court, “New Haj policy will be issued shortly and the requirement under Fiqh-i-Jafria to allow Shia women to proceed for Haj without a mehram (a close male relative) will be incorporated in the policy and facilitated for the purposes of filing online applications.”

The director further told the court that Haj policy would clearly set out the Fiqh-i-Jafria requirements for the purpose of Haj so as to ensure that members of Shia community could perform Haj as per their faith.

Justice Ayesha A Malik has been hearing the petition filed by Syed Ali Hadi Kauser last year.

Representing the petitioner, Barrister Maqsooma Zahra Bokhari argued that Shia pilgrims had been facing discriminatory treatment at the hands of the ministry on account of Haj facilities. She said Shia women had been denied permission to perform Haj without a mehram as online Haj forms did not accept an application from any woman sans mehram.

The counsel sought a direction for the ministry to specify and provide facilities to Shia pilgrims as per their Fiqh.

She also asked the court to order the authorities concerned for specifying quota for Shia pilgrims to avoid non-transparent selection of Haj applicants.

The court would resume hearing on Feb 21.

Published in Dawn February 14th, 2017

Comments (13) Closed

Houlbelat Feb 14, 2017 03:14pm

Is this change acceptable to the Saudis?

kumail Feb 14, 2017 03:55pm

The decision is a common sense ruling.

Hasan Feb 14, 2017 04:28pm

Saudi visa with out a mahram, not allowed I think

Hasan Feb 14, 2017 04:45pm

Below are the relevant conditions as per Saudi visa rules in case of women going for Hajj with out a Mahram

"Any woman over the age of 45 may travel without a Mahram with an organized group, provided she submits a letter of no objection from her Mahram authorizing her to travel for Hajj with the named group. This letter should be notarized."

Atif Feb 14, 2017 05:23pm

pk is progressing. Minorities seem to getting equal rights now.

Noor Feb 14, 2017 05:28pm

If a woman lives in Saudi Arab she is allowed to perform hajj without a Mehram with a group. Women are allowed to perform Hajj without a Mehram in Saudi Arab.

Hasan Feb 14, 2017 05:37pm

@Noor that is a different case, we are talking about people who are not Saudi or not in saudi arabia who are coming from other countries who need a visa. I have been on resident visa for 6 years in KSA and performed hajj legally with tashreeh, every thing is online and there was no option to fill the hajj application with out a mehram. Don t spread rumors please

Fareed N Feb 14, 2017 06:22pm

it is n't that simple as it looks. Any woman can declare that she is Shia and perform Hajj. Question is - will kingdom of Saudi Arabia accept this ruling .

BROTHER THERESA Feb 14, 2017 06:28pm

What is with this difference in treatment between genders!? Rightly so placed at 2nd worst in gender equality.

3D PerspEctive Feb 14, 2017 06:41pm

Hajj policy is devised in close conformity to KSA laws. Even if you allow Shiite Woman without mehram , all such women will not be issued visas, and in case they reach KSA,they will be deported .

Sara Feb 14, 2017 07:04pm

Women 45 and older irrespective of sect can get hajj visa, with a letter of conscent from her mahram and this letter shall be notarized, and ofcourse she should be with an organized group. Its simple and no exceptions with regard to shia or sunni

KHALID YOUSAFZAI (UK) Feb 14, 2017 10:14pm

its great for any religion to have their own choices.

nadeem Feb 15, 2017 08:13am

Hassan@what has being Saudi national to do with performance of Hajj. If a Saudi woman is allowed to do Hajj alone then. It all women should be allowed to that. However, I think this is a religious matter, and should dealt in that way! Don’t confuse the people!!!