Haj Policy unveiled 2024


ISLAMABAD: The caretaker Minister for Religious Affairs, Dr Aneeq Ahmed, unveiled the Haj Policy 2024 on Thursday, saying that for the first time in Pakistan’s history, the upcoming Haj will be less expensive than the previous one.

The government has also introduced a short package for 20 days, which will cost around Rs80,000 more than the normal Haj package.

Saudi authorities have granted Pakistan 179,000 Haj seats, with half reserved for private Haj operators.

Overseas Pakistanis can perform Haj under the sponsorship scheme, and they can even nominate someone on their behalf, but payments will only be accepted in US dollars.

The sponsorship scheme charges will be $3,800 for those departing from the northern region of the country and $3,765 for those departing from the southern parts.

Applications for government Haj will be accepted by banks from Nov 27 to Dec 12, 2023.

The caretaker minister said that the interim government worked on the Haj Policy 2024 for three months. Last year, Haj expenses exceeded Rs1.17 million, while this year, it would be around Rs1.07m, a reduction of Rs100,000 without compromising on services or quality, he added.

He highlighted that the government will provide one suitcase of 30kg each to the 90,000 Haj pilgrims travelling under the government Haj scheme.

While Islamabad has already been included in the ‘Road to Makkah’ project, where Saudi immigration is completed in the country, the Saudi government has included Karachi and is also working to include the Lahore airport in this initiative.

Simultaneously, the minister noted that the Saudi government demanded a reduction of Haj operators from 900 to 46 under the new Haj policy, streamlining overall Haj operations.

Meanwhile, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has clarified its position on women performing Haj without a mehram (a close male relative) companion.

The CII submitted its written response over a query to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, applicable for the next Haj in 2024.

The CII said that according to Hanafi and Hanbali jurisprudence, Haj is not obligatory for a woman

if a mehram is not available. It added that according to Jafria, Maliki and Shafi’i schools of thoughts, a woman can perform Haj without the company of a mehram, subject to certain conditions.

According to the jurisprudence of Jafria, Maliki, and Shafi’i, the CII explains that a woman with the company of reliable women can go on Haj with the permission of her parents, or husband in case of being married.

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