Pakistan unveils Hajj Policy 2024 with Rs 100,000 cost reduction in pilgrimage package

Pakistan announced the Hajj Policy 2024 revealing a noteworthy reduction of 100,000 ($347.92) in the cost of the government’s Hajj package this year.

Religious Affairs Minister Aneeq Ahmed announced the Hajj policy. This year’s Haj expenses are projected to be around Rs1.07 million, a reduction of Rs100,000 from the previous year. This cost reduction is promised without compromising on the quality of services, said Ahmed.

“The previous Hajj, which was held in a very impressive manner, cost Rs11,75,000 [$4,088],” Ahmed said. “It makes me very happy to announce that our package this year will cost Rs10,75,000. [$3,740].”

Under the government’s Haj scheme, each pilgrim will be provided with a 30kg suitcase, benefiting 90,000 Haj pilgrims in total.

Applications for government Hajj will be accepted by banks from November 27 to December 12, 2023.

Key features of Hajj Policy 2024

  • Govt announces reduction of Rs100,000 in pilgrimage package without compromising on services.
  • Hajj in 2024 will cost 10,75,000. This does not include the cost of sacrificial animals.
  • Pakistan introduced a short 20-day Hajj pilgrimage package with an additional Rs80,000 cost.
  • A dedicated app for Hajj 2024 will offer a streamlined experience for the pilgrims.
  • Women abayas will feature the Pakistani flag

The following vital updates have been made to the new hajj policy for the year 2024.

Short Hajj package

A key addition to this year’s policy is the introduction of a 20-day short package, albeit at an extra cost of approximately Rs80,000 compared to the standard Hajj package.

Saudi authorities have allocated 179,000 Haj seats to Pakistan, with half of them reserved for private Haj operators.

Sponsorship scheme

An interesting aspect of this policy is the provision for overseas Pakistanis to perform Haj under a sponsorship scheme.

Notably, payments under this scheme will only be accepted in US dollars. The sponsorship scheme charges vary, with $3,800 for those departing from the northern region and $3,765 for those departing from the southern parts of the country.

Applications for the government Hajj will be accepted by banks from November 27 to December 12, 2023, marking a specific timeline for interested pilgrims.

Addition of Karachi to ‘Road to Makkah’ project

Moreover, Islamabad’s inclusion in the ‘Road to Makkah’ project, streamlining Saudi immigration processes, has been complemented by the addition of Karachi. Efforts are also underway to include Lahore airport in this initiative.

Simultaneously, Minister Aneeq Ahmed highlighted the Saudi government’s call for a substantial reduction in Haj operators, from 900 to 46, as part of the new policy, aiming to streamline overall Haj operations.

Presence of mehram for women’s Hajj

Shifting focus, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) clarified its stance on women performing Haj without a mehram. According to the CII, Haj is not obligatory for a woman if a mehram is not available, aligning with Hanafi and Hanbali jurisprudence. However, Jafria, Maliki, and Shafi’i schools permit women to perform Haj without a mehram under specific conditions.

In this context, the CII proposed that a lone female can proceed for Haj if accompanied by a reliable and able female in the group, subject to investigation and permission granted by the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

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