ISLAMABAD: The cabinet on Wednesday approved Hajj Policy 2011 with the directions of the prime minister that the Ministry of Religious Affairs should take all stakeholders on board and extensive awareness campaign be launched to make the system transparent and help pilgrims understand the pilgrimage arrangements properly.
The meeting of the cabinet was held at the Prime Minister?s Secretariat with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in the chair.
The cabinet was briefed that Saudi Arabia had enhanced the quota of Pakistani Hajj pilgrims by 19,609 for 2011. Following the enhancement, the total number of pilgrims from Pakistan will stand at 179,256 as compared to 159,547 of 2010.
No one would be allowed to enjoy free Hajj facility while a minister who intended to take somebody on free Hajj would be asked to deposit full due amount.
Minister for Religious Affairs, Khurshid Shah, told a press briefing after the cabinet meeting that this year there would be no balloting. The method of first come, first served is being introduced.
He said the cabinet was apprised that in the new Hajj policy, restriction had been imposed on any person who had performed Hajj during the last five years and he would not be eligible this year except group leader or undertaking Hajj-e-Badal.
Only PIA and Saudi Airlines are allowed to operate Hajj flights from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia and vice versa. There shall be two schemes, ie, government Hajj scheme and Hajj group organisers (HGOs). Out of the total allocation, 50 percent would be allocated to the government Hajj scheme and 50 percent to private scheme.
Under the new policy, unsuccessful applicants for Hajj 2010 will be considered approved for Hajj 2011 if they have not withdrawn Hajj dues subject to the condition that they have not applied afresh for Hajj 2011.
The PIA has agreed to charge Rs 72,000 as airfare for south zone and Rs 84,000 for north zone.
Hajj dues of White category will be Rs 200,847 for south zone and Rs 212,847 for north zone. Hajj dues for Green category will be Rs 210,047 for south zone and Rs 222,047 for north zone. Pilgrims will be flown by the national carriers of both the countries in equal share, in pursuance of the revised Air Service Agreement (ASA) between government of Pakistan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
A broad-based Accommodation Hiring Committee, comprising five members, will hire the accommodation in Makkah Mukarrama and Madina Munwwarah. There shall be no fresh enrollment of HGOs in the year 2011. HGOs already enrolled with the Ministry of Religious Affairs in the year 2010 will continue in 2011 with the same quota.
Hujjaj Mohafiz Scheme based on the concept of ?Takaful? will be launched with the contribution of Rs 400 non-refundable by each pilgrim for compensation due to death/accident. In case of death during the pilgrimage, Rs 200,000 will be paid while for the loss of a limb in an accident Rs 50,000, loss of two limbs Rs100,000 and emergency evacuation due to illness Rs 50,000.