The cost of the Hajj 2023 is expected to reach a total of $123 million, with $90 million required under the Sponsor Hajj Scheme.
However, due to the inability of the government to meet the expected amount, there is a shortage of dollars for the Hajj pilgrimage.
The Secretary for Islamic Affairs has proposed that if the number of applications for the Sponsor Hajj Scheme is reduced, the quota may be returned to the Saudi government.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs has stated that $215 million is required for allowing all the applicants of the regular scheme to perform Hajj 2023, which is significantly higher than the initial estimate. Final applications for the regular scheme will be determined on April 4 after taking all details from the banks.
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The government is struggling to arrange the required dollars for the Hajj pilgrimage, and this additional request for funds highlights the difficulties faced in meeting the financial requirements.
Despite the obstacles, the authorities are working to ensure that all applicants can perform Hajj, but it remains to be seen how the situation will unfold in the coming days.
Hajj 2023 Applications
To address the shortage of funds, the Cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has decided to accept all 72,869 applications received for Hajj in the Regular Hajj Scheme 2023 category. Pakistan’s total quota for Hajj 2023 is 179,210 pilgrims.
On Monday, the Ministry of Finance released a statement that the decision to accept all applications under the regular scheme was made in the ECC meeting presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
The ECC approved the arrangement and modalities for Hajj Scheme-2023 and decided that all applications received under Regular Hajj Scheme would be declared successful without balloting.
The ECC also approved an additional financial requirement of $163 million of foreign exchange for Hajj 2023. The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony submitted a summary on the utilization of the Hajj 2023 quota and its financing, providing details on the Hajj Policy-2023, the number of applications received under Regular Hajj Schemes, unutilized quota under regular and sponsorship Hajj schemes, and financial requirements.
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The price of Hajj has increased due to the rupee devaluation, according to Mufti Abdul Shakoor, and pilgrims in the northern part of Pakistan will be charged Rs1.175 million for Hajj under the ‘regular scheme’ while people in the southern part will be charged Rs1.165 million.
The ECC’s decision ensures that all successful applicants under the regular scheme will be able to perform Hajj, albeit with additional funds required to meet the financial needs of the pilgrimage.