The government would’ve sent people to Hajj for free if the previous government hadn’t taken so many loans, said Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The premier was addressing the launch of the railway tracking system at PM House on Tuesday.
He said that if the government had the money for subsidies then it would’ve considered giving it to cancer patients and children who are not able to afford schools. “Why don’t we subsidise them instead,” he said.
We need to cut more costs, the prime minister said.
The government approved the new Hajj policy for 2019 without any subsidy on January 31. Without a subsidy, the pilgrimage will cost people in the southern areas of the country Rs436,000 while people in the northern areas will pay Rs426,000.
The expense for Hajj has increased by Rs100,000 compared to last year.
The ministry of religious affairs had requested a subsidy of Rs45,000 but the government did not approve it.
Applications under the government’s Hajj Scheme will be received from February 25 to March 6, the Ministry of Religious Affairs said on Tuesday.
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 under the private Hajj scheme.