Haj 2024: Here’s all you need to know about govt’s new policy

KARACHI: Caretaker Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Dr Aneeq Ahmed Wednesday announced a significant reduction of Rs0.1 million in government Haj expenses while ensuring “uncompromised facilities”.

Notably, the pilgrims will receive a 30kg suitcase each, and female pilgrims will receive scarfs (abaya) featuring the national flag, a first-time provision.

During a news conference at the Haji Camp Karachi, Dr Ahmed highlighted the introduction of a mobile application aimed at aiding pilgrims.

This app will offer navigation assistance and keep pilgrims in constant contact with relevant officials.

Initially available in English and Urdu, the app will later include various regional languages.

Emphasising improvements in the Haj process, Dr Ahmed revealed that Islamabad and Karachi have been incorporated into Saudi Arabia’s Road to Makkah project.

This inclusion allows Karachi airport to complete the immigration process for pilgrims, streamlining their journey.

Moreover, the government has introduced a 20-day short Haj package, striving to make Haj more financially accessible to citizens.

Efforts are underway to ensure Pakistani pilgrims are accommodated in tents at Old Mina, as the distance to New Mina poses challenges for pilgrims.

Highlighting the allocation of Haj seats, Dr Ahmed mentioned that Pakistan has secured 179,000 Haj seats, with half reserved for private Haj operators.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs will oversee these operators to guarantee the well-being of pilgrims, holding the ministry responsible for any issues faced by those performing Haj through private operators.

Dr Ahmed also noted the ongoing renovation work at the Haji Camp Karachi building, reinforcing the commitment to enhance pilgrimage facilities.

Regarding expenses, Dr Ahmed clarified that the announced package excludes qurbani (sacrifice) expenses during the Haj.

Additionally, intending pilgrims opting for a shorter stay in Medina will receive a further reduction of Rs 35,000 in Haj expenses.

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