Saudi Arabia has increased the Haj Quota for Pakistan to 179,210 for the year 2017. The quota had been decreased back in 2013 due to expansion of the Grand Mosque.
Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Mohammad Yousuf shared this news saying,”An agreement for the year 2017 has been signed with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Haj quota has been enhanced from 143,368 to 179,210.”
The minister shared this information during his briefing to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif about arrangements for this year’s Hajj.
The Hajj Ministry of Saudi Arabia had been requested by Pakistan for an increase in quota by 15,000.
Another proposal by Mr. Sardar Yousuf was also approved by the Prime Minister. Applicants who have performed Hajj already in the last 7 years will not be eligible to apply for Hajj according to the new scheme. Haj-i-Badal will however be allowed but only through the private Hajj scheme.
The Minister also said that the Hajj applicants’ trust in the government has also been restored adding that,
This is evident from the fact that the number of applications for the government Hajj scheme has increased by more than 300 per cent from 86,919 in 2013 to 280,617 in 2016,
The process for transport, hiring, catering and other facilities has begun already.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appreciated the Ministry of Religious Affairs’ efforts for making Hajj arrangements. He added that there was always room for improvement to make the process more efficient and cost-effective. He commended the Ministry for their efforts over the past 3 years on improving the facilities provided to Hajj pilgrims.
For this year, the Prime Minister adds, special attention must be given towards the arrangement at airports and providing 3 meals a day to pilgrims at Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat. Care must be taken for travelling and lodging arrangements as well.