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Balloting for additional quota of Haj pilgrims to be held on May 20

May 18, 2019

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A pilgrim prays at Jabal Al Rahma, or the mountain of forgiveness, at Arafat for the annual Haj pilgrimage. —AP/File
A pilgrim prays at Jabal Al Rahma, or the mountain of forgiveness, at Arafat for the annual Haj pilgrimage. —AP/File

The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony is going to hold another round of Haj balloting on May 20, sources well placed in the ministry told DawnNewsTV on Saturday.

The ministry, through the balloting to be held at 3pm, is going to facilitate 9,474 more Haj pilgrims as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had recently revised the quota for Pakistani pilgrims.

The Saudi government had increased the Haj quota for Pakistani pilgrims to 200,000 from the previous 184,210.

Take a look: 2.4m Muslims travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Haj

The religious affairs ministry had decided to divide the additional quota of around 16,000 pilgrims as per the existing formula under which 60 per cent of the seats go to the government Haj scheme, while 40pc are granted to the private sector.

The Monday's ballot will include only those aspiring pilgrims who had applied for Haj under the government scheme for 2019 but could not succeed.

Those applicants who haven't withdrawn their Haj dues from banks will be included in the balloting automatically, while those who have withdrawn the amount will be given four days to re-submit it.

Saudi Arabia has included Pakistan in its "Road to Makkah" project, which will allow pilgrims to undergo immigration clearance at Pakistani airports before leaving for Haj.

Riyadh, on the request of Prime Minister Imran Khan, has also decided to provide e-visa facility to Pakistani pilgrims. Under the facility, intending pilgrims will be provided visas at their doorstep.

Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Dr Noorul Haq Qadri had announced in February that the immigration facility was being extended to Lahore and Islamabad, after Karachi.