KARACHI: The Hajj flight operations, which is scheduled to start on May 31, is likely to face delay due to the non-issuance of any such policy by the religious affairs ministry, sources said.
The hajj policy is usually announced one month before Hajj. But, the delay in flight operations policy has raised concerns from the national flag carrier – Pakistan International Airlines – and private airlines.
As many as 31,253 citizens will perform Hajj this year under the government scheme and 1,000 people on a special quota, the government announced on May 15. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia gave 81,132 Hajj quotas to Pakistan. A total of 63,604 applications for the government Hajj scheme were received online and from the designated banks during the stipulated period this year.
Sources told Aaj News that the intended pilgrims are scheduled to start the holy journey from May 31, adding that officials have also not provided any Hajj package or expenses to the intended pilgrims.
The quota for public and private Hajj operators could also not be decided yet, they said, adding that there are concerns about the apparent mismanagement in the administrative measure for hajj operations.
This year the total Hajj cost was expected to be Rs700,000 to Rs1 million, according to the religious ministry’s spokesperson Muhammad Umar Butt, as the kingdom eased travel restrictions for pilgrims from Pakistan in February this year after a downward slide in coronavirus cases.
However, the mandatory protocol of wearing face masks and vaccination is compulsory. The kingdom has set the age limit of 65 years for performing Hajj.