Hajj 2024 costs are likely to be reduced by the government

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Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Aneeq Ahmed has announced that the caretaker federal government intends to reduce Hajj expenses as a measure of providing relief to intending pilgrims in the face of skyrocketing inflation this year.

According to Ahmed, he intends to announce the Hajj policy by Wednesday (November 15) in a speech delivered at a dinner reception organized by the Punjab Chapter of the Pakistan Business Group Organization (PBGO).

He emphasised the importance of observing and adhering to the Hajj Policy in letter and spirit, underscoring the importance of the Saudi government’s directives being respected and implemented in both a letter and a spirit of strict adherence to the policy since 2004.

As a noteworthy achievement of his government, Aneeq announced that he would be able to reduce the cost of the forthcoming Hajj pilgrimage to just under Rs1,075,000, compared to the previous pilgrimage that had incurred expenses of Rs1,175,000 in the first place.

With a range of facilities available throughout the Hajj season, he has ensured that pilgrims will enjoy the greatest comfort and convenience, including an affordable internet data package with a private network SIM card that will be available for the duration of their 45 days in the Kingdom.

In response to the constraints faced by some pilgrims, who are unable to stay for more than 40 days for personal or professional reasons, the ministry is introducing a short-term Hajj programme spanning approximately 20 days, recognising the limitations that some pilgrims face.

During the minister’s discussion, he shared some encouraging news for prospective pilgrims, who will be exempt from the balloting process for those who will be paying their Hajj dues in dollars. During his presentation, he underlined the importance of this exemption in streamlining the Hajj process.

In order to ensure the security of the pilgrims and their luggage throughout the entire Hajj operation this year, he emphasized that each pilgrim would receive a suitcase with a QR code to enable them to track their luggage and themselves securely.

The minister concluded by describing the ministry’s initiative to maintain discipline among female pilgrims by providing them with a scarf (hijab) that is adorned with the national flag on its back as a means of maintaining discipline.

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