Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Minister Mufti Abdul Shakoor on Friday, giving a tentative figure, informed that Hajj may cost Rs 700,000 to Rs 1 million this year.
Addressing a press conference here in the ministry, he said due to an increase in the cost of services and taxes by the Saudi government, an increment would be expected in the Hajj expenses. Mufti said the Saudi Hajj ministry, as per normal routine, used to provide Hajj guidelines and expenditures in advance but due to COVID-19, the details of Hajj expenses were being awaited. In this context, the ministry’s directorate general in Jeddah was in constant contact with his Saudi counterpart to settle down the issues of mutual interests as soon as possible, he added.
He said the Saudi Hajj ministry had given the deadline of May 16 to complete all the codal formalities for smooth sailing of Hajj 2022. Keeping in view the time constraints and official hiccups, the ministry had decided to ask the aspirant pilgrims to submit their applications in designated branches of the scheduled banks with token money of Rs50,000, he added. He said the applications could be submitted online and by banks from May 1 to May 13 while the token money could be deposited from May 9 to May 13.
He said this exercise would help manage the time as the official business during the Eid holidays would be suspended. Mufti also made it clear that COVID and booster jab and PCR test before the 72 hours of departure for Hajj were mandatory. To a query, he said he would personally monitor the whole Hajj process and if someone is found involved in criminal negligence they would be treated as per law of the land. It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan has been allotted a quota of 81,132 pilgrims this year. It would be divided between the government and private schemes with a ratio of 60:40.