Window to submit applications for govt Haj scheme closes with 216,542 applications

Published March 9, 2019
Ministry of  Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony spokesperson Imran Siddiqui on Saturday confirmed that the time period to submit Haj applications had concluded. — AFP/File
Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony spokesperson Imran Siddiqui on Saturday confirmed that the time period to submit Haj applications had concluded. — AFP/File

Ministry for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony's spokesperson, Imran Siddiqui, confirmed on Saturday that the time period to submit government Haj applications had closed and noted that as of 6pm today, 216,542 applications had been received.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday had said the religious affairs ministry had extended the date for receiving Haj applications by designated banks from March 7 to 9. Earlier, it was reported that the federal government would accept applications for its Haj scheme starting from Feb 25 until March 6 at 14 designated banks.

As per Siddiqui, on the request of banks, the ballotting for the government Haj scheme has been delayed by a day. It will now take place on March 12.

He said bank officials would clear the Haj application cheques and drafts by Monday and added that banks have been instructed to complete online entries in a timely manner. He said that banks and applicants should also ensure that correct data entry is done.

The ministry spokesperson said Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri will conduct the ballotting.

Additionally, the religious affairs ministry has decided to establish a Haj helpline in order to promptly resolve any grievances of prospective pilgrims. The helpline will provide them with the required information as well as register and resolve complaints relating to Haj 2019.

According to ministry sources, the prospective pilgrims can register their complaints or seek information via the 042-111-725-425 helpline, APP reported. They can also get answers about Haj related queries via 051-9205696, 051-9216980, 051-9216981 and 051-9216982.

As per the Haj Policy 2019 released by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, a total of 184,210 Pakistani pilgrims are to perform Haj this year.

The federal cabinet had announced the policy on January 31, under which the cost of performing the ritual under the government scheme has been fixed at Rs456,426 (with sacrifice), against last year’s expense of Rs280,000 per person.

Under the government scheme, Haj dues excluding sacrifice will be Rs436,975 for the northern region of the country including Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Multan and Rahim Yar Khan, while the cost for the south region including Karachi, Quetta and Sukkur will be Rs426,975.

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