ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday acknowledged to increase Hajj package by Rs 125,000 instead of the early estimated hike of Rs 63,000,taking the total of almost 5,75000.
According to the details, The Ministry of Religious Affair on Thursday told a Senate panel that cost of Hajj might increase this year Rs 115,000 because of hike in the US dollar’s exchange rate and rising airfares.
After the increase in the Hajj package, the cost of government Hajj package for northern region would increase to Rs 550,000 and that of the southern region to Rs 545,000. The cost of government Hajj package last year was Rs 433,000.
Sources said that the Ministry of Religious Affairs had asked Saudi authorities to exempt Pakistan from the fee. However, Riyadh turned down the request, saying that the fee was imposed on all Islamic countries and not just Pakistan.
Earlier on Thursday, Senate panel was informed, The cost of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah might increase by up to Rs125,000 for Pakistani pilgrims this year.
According to a report, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government revealed plans for the hike in Hajj pilgrimage during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs.
The committee expressed reservations over the increase in the fare
It also directed the religious affairs ministry to justify the cost hike in the next meeting to avoid the rejection of the government proposal.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri chaired the meeting.
The JUI-F leader said that the government increase the cost of Hajj every year.
“The ministry is increasing the cost of the Haj package every year, making it difficult for the poor to perform the religious obligation,” Senator Haideri told.
While briefing the committee, the secretary of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Mian Mushtaq Ahmed, said that 179,000 Pakistanis expected to perform Hajj this year.