Islamabad: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday approved new Hajj Policy for 2014, under which 1, 43,368 Pakistanis would perform Hajj this year.
Speaking to presspersons here today, Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf said banks will start accepting Hajj applications from 21st of April and all applications would be entertained on first-come-first-served basis.
The minister said under government scheme the Hajj package will cost Rs2, 62,231 for those pilgrims travelling from Sukkur, Quetta and Karachi while those travelling from Sialkot, Faisalabad, Islamabad, Peshawar and Rahimyar Khan will have to pay Rs 2, 72,231.
He further said the government and private Hajj group organizers will operate on a 50-50 quota.
According to new Hajj policy, anyone who has performed Hajj during the last five years won’t be eligible to perform Hajj this year, barring those who will be going as Mehram (male family members whom a woman cannot marry and who can see her without veil) or those performing ‘Hajj-e-Badal’ (done on the behalf of other people who are physically not fit enough to embark on hajj or those who have died).
Yousaf said limit to stay in Saudi Arabia will be 40 days. He also pledged that like every year maximum facilities will be provided the pilgrims and nearby buildings will be hired for this purpose.
Last year 180,000 Pakistani pilgrims had performed Hajj.