The cost of Hajj has increased by Rs157,000 this year, Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri said Wednesday.
The minister said that the devaluation of Pakistani rupee increased the cost by Rs63,000 and airlines have increased their fares by Rs17,000. He added that the Saudi government has also increased the value added tax and railway fares.
All Pakistani pilgrims, who are performing Hajj under the government’s scheme, will be given the railway tickets for inter-city travel in Saudi Arabia.
The pilgrims were given a subsidy of Rs42,000 last year, Noorul Haq Qadri said, adding that the cost of Hajj is less than what India, Bangladesh, and Iran are offering to their people.
The applications for the government’s Hajj Scheme will be received from February 25 to March 6, the minister said.
According to the ministry, over 180,000 Pakistanis will perform Hajj this year.
At least 107,526 people will perform Hajj under the government scheme, and 71,684 people will go to Saudi Arabia privately.
The pilgrims under the government scheme will be selected through computerised balloting on March 8. Ten thousand people above the age of 80 years will be sent to perform Hajj too.
Hajj, under the government scheme, will cost Rs436,975 for people from the northern region, which includes Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Sialkot, Faisalabad Multan, and Rahim Yar Khan. It will cost Rs426,975 for the people from the southern region, including Karachi, Quetta, and Sukkur.
All the pilgrims will be provided with five liters of zamzam water.