ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will tomorrow ink a hajj agreement for 2018 featuring all terms and conditions and information regarding the holy journey for the country’s pilgrims.
An official of the Ministry of Religious Affairs told The Express Tribune that Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf had left for Saudi Arabia to sign the agreement for which a ceremony would be held on February 1.
The official said the minister would also discuss the delay in hajj balloting with the Saudi government.
The balloting was scheduled to take place on January 26 but was postponed after the Sindh High Court (SHC) issued a stay order. The Lahore High Court had, on January 25, also stopped the ministry from holding the balloting of 17% quota in the government’s hajj scheme.
“The minister will officially inform the Saudi government about possible delays in hajj arrangements because of the court’s stay order,” said the official.
He said the ministry would present its viewpoint today (Wednesday) in the SHC over a petition claiming that part of the hajj policy for 2018 were against Sharia.
“The government will pursue its hajj policy according to the SHC verdict,” he said, adding that the ministry had made best efforts to ensure best possible accommodations and transport facility for the pilgrims.
The official said that the minister would hold several other important meetings with concerned officials regarding this year’s hajj.
The minister would also inform Saudi officials about the total number of intending pilgrims from Pakistan this year, he said, adding that he would also share the date of submission of their passports, number of buses required for the pilgrims and the total flights from Pakistan.
Wasa Managing Director Raja Shaukat Mehmood would bear the expenses for Hajj
A Hajj draw was held at the regional office of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) in Quetta
Designated banks start receiving Hajj applications from today (Monday)
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