ISLAMABAD: For the first time in the history of the country, the government received less applications from potential Hajj pilgrims than the quota the Saudi government granted to the country.
It said that while the administration was considering giving the Saudi government the unutilized quota, the federal government will make the final decision in this matter.
In part to an uncommon rise in Hajj expenses, the sources in the religious affairs ministry report that approximately 9,000 fewer applications than the quota for the government Hajj plan had been submitted.
In addition to the 28,679 more applications against the 44,190 additional quota, 72,869 individuals filed applications under the usual program this year. The sources also stated that 8,000 people applied under the sponsorship program.
According to the report, the government also thought about giving private Hajj operators permission to use the remainder of the Hajj quota. However, it planned to give up the unused quota out of concern that private operators may purchase dollars on the open market.
The Religious Affairs Ministry meet in the meanwhile to discuss the Hajj operations’ preparations. The first Hajj flight would leave Pakistan on May 20. This information was relayed to the gathering, which was presided over by Religious Affairs Minister Talha Mahmood.
Aftab Durrani, the secretary for religious affairs, informed the gathering that the biometrics of pilgrims will be finished by April 28 and that staff members and pilgrims-to-be were still receiving training at the Haji camps.
Mahmood informed the group on his most recent dealings with Saudi Arabia. The minister continued, “Due to the time constraints, we will have to work day and night to complete the Hajj arrangements.”