Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri has said that Hajj policy for the private organizers would be announced soon. Hajj is a religious obligation and one of its worldly benefits is that it generates at least $ 100 billion worth of business activity annually.
He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar and Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad also spoke on the occasion. Convener Standing Committee on Hajj and Umrah Tour Operators Jawaid Akhtar, Former Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa, Executive Committee members Haji Asif Saher, Zeeshan Sohail Malik, Sheikh Sajjad Afzal and Haris Attique were also present at the occasion.
The Minister said that Pakistan has a huge share in this business activity associated to Hajj. e said that the prime objective of the ministry is to provide the best services to the pilgrims. He said that the government considers the private sector as its partner. Private sector tour operators should try to set up Hajj programs and services as being offered by the other Islamic countries. The government is also trying to provide at least for 3 year long-term Hajj policy for Private Sector instead of a single year policy, he said.
The Minister said that representatives of the chambers of commerce will also be involved in the process, he said. He said that Lahore contributes a major part of the country’s economy. Lahore has the potential to become the hub of economic activities not only in the country but in the region.
LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that Ministry of Religious Affairs should ensure uniformity in Hajj fares for public and private operators so that every aspirant can perform his Religious obligation.
He said that private Hajj scheme policy should be announced at the earliest as delay is causing difficulties for the organizers. He said that immediate announcement of policy would help organizers to do agreements in Mecca and Madina.
Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that fluctuation in exchange rate of Saudi Riyal creates problems for the people. He suggested that exchange rate should be fixed Rs.41.50 for private Hajj schemes to avoid changes in Hajj package.
The LCCI President said that monitoring system for private Hajj organizers should be updated while fares of airlines and other expenses should be kept in view by the government while fixing packages for the private Hajj schemes.