Thursday, June 15, 2006
Religious ministry bans 19 travel companies for Haj
ISLAMABAD: Religious Affairs Minister Ejazul Haq on Wednesday informed the National Assembly (NA) that 19 travel companies were banned from offering Haj packages in 2006.
In a written statement in the Question/Answer booklet, the minister stated that the companies were banned for violating rules and not providing proper service to pilgrims the previous year.
He said three committees including Scrutiny Committee, Selection Committee and Approval Committee were constituted to examine travel companies that had asked to be allowed registration for Haj in 2006. The minister said that all possible steps were being taken to ensure that the banned companies did not get registered under any other name.
The blacklisted companies include Saifi Haj Group Islamabad, Travel Lines and Tours Islamabad, Zayuf-ur-Rehman Rawalpindi, Manasik Haj Group Rawalpindi, Arab Wing Lahore, Karwan-e-Makkah Madina Lahore, Al-Huffaz Group of Travels Lahore, Ayub International Travel Lahore, Bismillah Travel and Tours Karachi, Al-Raee Haj Group Karachi, Al-Ansari Haj Consultants Karachi, Karwan-e-Al-Madina Karachi, Muhammad Ali Islamail Memon Haj Group Karachi, Ludhianvi Shaheed Haj Group Karachi, Ziarat Tourism Haj Services Chaman, Karwan Tauheed Pakistan Quetta, Maksa Travel and Tours Lahore, Harmain Group Karachi and Al-Ghazi Haj Group Karachi.
The minister said that under the Haj Policy all Haj group organisations would be registered. The organisations would be held responsible for providing facilities to the pilgrims according to the package offered. Sports Minister Shamim Haider informed the NA that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) would construct an international cricket stadium in Islamabad before the 2011 Cricket World Cup.
The minister said the construction of the stadium would take at least two and a half years. He said that no other stadiums were being planned in the country.
The minister said that deadline for the completion of the stadium would be announced after land was transferred to the PCB by the Capital Development Authority (CDA). He added that the cost of the project was being finalised by the PCB. Replying to a question, Education Minister Javed Ashraf Qazi said the ministry would prepare the first draft of the revised national curriculum by June 30, 2006. He said that in the last three years, 1,237 scholarships were awarded under the Overseas Scholarship Programme. He said that 756 scholars were enrolled in PhD programmes abroad and applications of 470 scholars were being processed.
The minister said that 11 scholars had completed their PhD studies, adding that under the Indigenous Scholarship Programmes, 2,028 scholars were awarded scholarships.
Jehangir Tareen, the minister for industries and production, said three parties had been found eligible under the prescribed criteria to import 2,500 duty free tractors each. He said that the fourth company was personally approved by the prime minister.
The minister said the Sindh High Court had directed to re-advertise the scheme and the case was currently pending in the Supreme Court. However, the government has allowed import of duty free tractors in the budget announced on June 5. In another written reply, the industries minister said that 26 cement factories were operating in the country with an annual capacity of around 24 million tonnes of cement.
He said the annual sale of cement in the country during the financial year 2003-2004 was 12.45 million tonnes, which increased to 14.78 million tonnes during 2004-2005. He said the total quantity of cement exported to Afghanistan and other countries from January to March 2006 was 381,802 metric tonnes