The cost of the highly anticipated Hajj pilgrimage in 2024 under Pakistan's government scheme is projected to exceed Rs 1.1 million per pilgrim.
This policy is currently under review by the federal cabinet and is expected to receive approval shortly.
The draft Hajj Policy 2024 reveals that the estimated cost of Rs 1.1 million will encompass various expenses for pilgrims. Notably, in the case of single-family pilgrims, separate accommodations will be provided.
The official announcement of the cost will be made once the Hajj Policy 2024 is approved. It is also anticipated that the cost for private tour operators will exceed this amount.
Short-term Hajj package
For the upcoming Hajj in 2024, the government is planning to introduce a short-term Hajj package, which could last from 20 to 25 days. This move aims to provide more flexibility to prospective pilgrims.
Caretaker Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Aneeq Ahmed, has affirmed that the Saudi Arabian government is dedicated to improving facilities and services for Pakistani pilgrims during Hajj 2024.
Controversy surrounding reduction
Recently, discussions among lawmakers revolved around the reduction of Pakistani Hajj Group Organizers (HGOs) from 905 to only 46.
While a letter has been forwarded to the Saudi Hajj and Umrah Ministry, requesting a delay in the reduction for the current year and suggesting a gradual decrease in the upcoming years, it has been highlighted that Saudi authorities may not be inclined to alter their decision.
The religious affairs ministry has been advised to prepare for the upcoming Hajj accordingly.
'Road to Makkah'
In a significant development, Saudi authorities have approved the expansion of the 'Road to Makkah' project from Lahore and Karachi airports, with proposals to extend it to airports in Peshawar and Quetta.
The 'Road to Makkah' initiative, part of Saudi Arabia’s Guests of God Service Program, aims to simplify the pilgrimage experience for Hajj pilgrims.
This initiative includes issuing visas and providing baggage facilities at the pilgrims' respective countries’ airports, facilitating their smooth transition to buses that transport them to their places of residence in Makkah and Madina while delivering their luggage directly to them, alleviating various hassles upon their arrival in Saudi Arabia.
The agreement for this project was renewed in May as Saudi Arabia’s deputy interior minister, Dr. Nasser bin Abdul Aziz Al-Dawood, met with Pakistan's then-interior minister, Rana Sanaullah.