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, a Senate panel was informed on Thursday.
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.
“The government Hajj package for the northern region will cost Rs550,000 while it will amount to Rs545,000 for the southern region per intending pilgrim,” he said.
“The main reason for the increase is the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, in addition to an increase in airline fares, and other costs,” the secretary added.
The committee expressed its dismay over the absence of Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri at the meeting.
The committee issued directions for him to be present in the next meeting.