Under the Hajj Sponsorship Scheme, the Federal Government has only received 6,500 applications for 44,500 available seats.
According to sources, the government increased their Hajj expenditure by 36% from the previous year, primarily as a result of the Pakistani rupee’s decline versus the US dollar.
Pakistan has been given a 179,210 Hajj quota by the Saudi government for 2023. The government, however, cannot afford to permit a significant capital flight due to severe economic restrictions.
The allocated quota must be split equally—50% each—between the Government and Private Hajj Schemes, in keeping with the Hajj Policy.
A quota of 50% each from the public and private hajj programs shall be set aside for the sponsorship program.
Under the Sponsorship Scheme, applicants will not be permitted to deposit their Hajj dues from foreign currency accounts in Pakistan and will be obliged to deposit their Hajj dues in foreign currency remitted from overseas.
Due to financial limitations, the government decided to implement a “Sponsorship Scheme” in which Pakistanis living abroad would receive half of the government’s allotted number of tickets for the Hajj.
The Private Hajj Scheme is anticipated to produce more than $250 million, according to the draft of the Hajj Policy, depending on the pricing of various packages and the volume of applications provided. The Government Hajj Quota is anticipated to generate approximately $194 million.
.In consideration of this, the government decided to provide non-resident Pakistanis with 89,605, or half of the quota. The non-resident Pakistanis had two choices: they either use the quota themselves or sponsor a Pakistani.
By giving half of the quota to non-resident Pakistanis, officials predicted that they might save almost $440 million.
The estimated cost of the Hajj Package in 2023 is Rs. 1,165,000 for the North Region (Multan, Lahore, Sialkot, Islamabad Rahim Yar Khan, Faisalabad, and Peshawar) and Rs. 1,125,000 for the South Region (Karachi, Sukkur, and Quetta).
Per Haji, the expense of the Hajj in the previous year was around Rs. 860,000. Based on data, the cost of doing the Hajj increased by over 36% for Pakistani nationals over the course of the previous year as a result of the local currency’s wild decline against the US Dollar. According to sources, the government has received over 72,000 applications from citizens in the country and about 6,500 from foreigners throughout the specified period.
44,500 applications were planned for the New Hajj Sponsor Scheme under the government program. Only 6,500 applications were submitted to the government as opposed to the anticipated number.
The Hajj Sponsorship Scheme, which was started for overseas Pakistanis, utterly failed to meet its goals because there was little interest from foreign Pakistanis in the program. The government wanted 89,000 applicants, but it also fell short of its goal.
Through mixed regular and sponsorship systems, the government could only collect less than 80,000 applications, which is around 10,000 fewer than the desired number. The government is forced to give up the Hajj quota due to the small number of applicants.
The country’s financial situation is the first to have prevented the government from using all of its Hajj quotas. For the Government Hajj Scheme this year, a foreign exchange cover of $284 million was necessary. The Pilgrims Welfare Fund (PWF) Hajj collection account of the Ministry should provide the matching Rupee cover for this distribution.
The Government Sponsorship Scheme’s fees would total $194 million if its allotted quota were used, as intending pilgrims would have to deposit their whole Hajj fee, which includes their airline and service fees, in foreign currency. In that situation, the scheme’s draft states that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) will need to provide $90 million (284-194)
The Government Hajj Quota Sponsorship Scheme was first come, first served. The first come, first served rule could not be used, however, because of the low level of interest from abroad.