ISLAMABAD, Sept 14: The ministry of religious affairs, Zakat and Ushr has decided not to allow pregnant women, disabled persons and patients suffering from fatal diseases, including hepatitis and tuberculosis, to perform the Haj 2003.

A decision to this effect was taken at a joint meeting of the directors of Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta Haji camps here on Saturday.

The meeting, presided over by the secretary of the ministry, Jameel Ahmed Bhutto, was attended by the joint secretary, Muhammad Azam Rathore, besides other high-level officials.

The meeting was told that the ministry would soon hold a coordination meeting with the counsellor of Saudi Embassy in Islamabad for grant of visas to intending pilgrims well before their departure to Saudi Arabia.

The ministry has arranged separate accommodation for male and female intending pilgrims in Makkah and Madina this year. The arrangements will also be made to keep a family in a single room accommodation.

Groups of Khuddam-ul-Hajaj and a medical and seasonal staff will be sent to Jeddah one week before the start of the Haj.

The meeting was told that training of intending pilgrims would start at tehsil level in November. The guide book prepared by the ministry would be distributed among the intending pilgrims before their departure.

Under the Saudi law, pilgrims will be vaccinated for which the ministry has made arrangements to import 60,000 dozes of vaccines. The meeting also discussed winding up of the directorates of Haj in Multan, Sukkur and Faisalabad, and adjustment of staff in their respective cities.—APP

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