The Ministry of Religious Affairs Friday conducted Hajj balloting under the government scheme for 2017 and selected 87,419 persons to perform Hajj.
Addressing a press conference after the balloting, Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf said that 386,096 applications were received. He said that this year overall 179, 210 Pakistanis will perform Hajj.
He said that the Hajj quota is divided between the government and private Hajj operators with a ratio of 60:40 as per the government policy. He said that the government held balloting on just 50 per cent of the quota so far as private Hajj operators have knocked the doors of the court for another 10 per cent share, and if the court delivers decision in the government’s favour, a total of 107,526 people will perform Hajj under the government scheme, while 70,000 on private channels.
The minister said that the Religious Ministry has made extra payment to the Saudi government for arrangement of expeditious clearance for Pakistani pilgrims at all the checking points, especially at the airports. He said this year’s Hajj will be the most successful Hajj in the history of Pakistan.
The minister said the Prime Minister approved names of 197 applicants, who are older than 90 years, for Hajj without any draw. The elderly pilgrims will also take along one attendant to be exempted from balloting. Yousaf said that last year the ministry received a total of 280,000 applications for Hajj under government schemes, while in 2015 a total 270,000 applications had been received.
“Since 2013, the government has been receiving more applications than the previous years because of the improvements in the arrangements of Hajj under the government scheme,” he said. He said that Religious Ministry is feeling pleasure over the satisfaction of the pilgrims on the arrangements made by the government for Hajj over the past three years. He said the money received from applicants through banks will be held in a Shariah account.
He said the applicants who were selected in the draw would be informed through text messages, adding that applicants could also check their names by visiting the website of the ministry. Yousaf said that the successful applicants will have to submit their passports to the banks by May 10 while the unsuccessful applicants can withdraw their amount from respective banks without any further approval from the ministry.
He informed that the Hajj operation will start from Zil Qaad 1 and will be completed by October 6. The 50 per cent of the pilgrims will first go to Makkah while other 50 per cent will start the pilgrimage by going to Madina.-Business Recorder