The move has been made according to the directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Passengers from Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore and Sialkot will pay Rs. 95,000 for their Hajj flight whereas those from Quetta, Sukkur and Karachi would pay Rs. 86,000 as far, inclusive of taxes. This brings the cut in fares by approximately Rs. 4,000.
Religious Affairs Secretary Suhail Amir had also briefed the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs, “A total of 143,368 Pakistanis will perform Haj this year at a cost of Rs264,851 per person compared to the Rs264,971 charged last year.”
The government had also earlier informed the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs that the cost of Hajj fares would be reduced by Rs 120 per person this year. The draft of the Hajj Policy 2016 will be forwarded for approval tot he federal cabinet next week.
“The ministry will start receiving applications from April 4 and the final balloting will be held on April 17,” Suhail Amir disclosed to the committee. He also informed the committee that as many as sixty percent of the pilgrims would perform the religious ritual under the government’s scheme.
As per the draft policy, Hajj flights would operate from Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Multan, Karachi, Lahore, Rahim Yar Khan, Peshawar and Sukkur. PIA, Shaheen Air, Air Blue and Saudi Airlines are the airlines that will take part in the Hajj operation.
Members of the Senate Standing Committee were critical of the timing of the draft policy, stating that it was surprising as to how the government can collect applications from April 4 when the policy had not yet been approved.