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Haj to cost Rs490,000 under govt scheme

A picture taken on September 9, 2016 shows a general view of Muslim pilgrims from all around the world circling around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque, in the Saudi city of Mecca. The annual Hajj pilgrimage begins on September 10, and more than a million Muslims have already flocked to Saudi Arabia in preparation for what will for many be the highlight of their spiritual lives. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI

ISLAMABAD: As inflation has hit every activity, performing Haj has also become costlier this year, but the government claims that it has curtailed Haj expenses to the maximum extent.

The federal cabinet on Tuesday approved Haj Policy 2020 under which Haj under government scheme will cost Rs490,000 to each pilgrim with 7.35 per cent increase as compared to the cost of Haj in 2019.

However, Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri said at a press conference that the government had curtailed Haj expenses to the maximum possible extent otherwise it could have cost Rs540,000 to each pilgrim.

“Devaluation of rupee, inflation and increased air fares and accommodation expenses in Saudi Arabia are the main factors behind the slight increase in the cost of Haj,” he added.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

He said this year every pilgrim from any country had to pay additional 410 Riyals to the Saudi government because 300 Riyals would be charged at the time of issuance of visa and 110 Riyal as health insurance.

The minister said this year 179,210 Pakistani pilgrims would perform Haj, 60pc of them under the government quota and 40pc under private tour operators’ quota.

Under the Haj Policy 2020, Rs490,000 (with Qurbani), has been fixed for Haj for individuals from the north side of the country and Rs480,000 for the south. Last year Rs456,426 (with Qurbani) were charged for north and Rs436,975 (with Qurbani) for pilgrims from the south side.

The minister claimed that this year pilgrims would be given more facilities and all arrangements had been made to provide them ease during Haj.

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