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Hajj expenses to rise to Rs. 420,000 this year

ISLAMABAD: Pilgrims to Makkah may be required to pay up to Rs 420,000 in the year 2019 for Hajj on government scheme, ARY News reported on Sunday.

Well-placed sources in the Ministry of Religious Affairs informed ARY News that the government was trying to secure a subsidy of up to Rs 40,000 per person on Hajj expenses, which if approved, will cap the costs at Rs 380,000.

However, since the amount of subsidy has not been finalised yet, those wishing to undertake the holy journey are expected to pay Rs 420,000 per person.

In 2018, the Hajj expenses for northern and southern regions of Pakistan were Rs. 280,000 and Rs. 270,000 respectively, whereas Rs. 13,050 were separately charged for the animal sacrifice.

Read: ‘Green hajj’ takes root in Makkah

Sources say the hike in Hajj rates is rooted in increased taxation by the Saudi government and a depreciation in the Pakistani rupee’s value against the dollar by as much as 29 rupees since December 28, 2017, when last year’s Hajj policy was announced.

After the cabinet’s approval, applications for Hajj on government scheme will be received from January 20 till February 20.

In December 2018, Saudi Arabia had increased quota of Pakistani pilgrims for 2019’s Hajj by 5,000.

Read More: Fresh five-year Hajj policy on the anvil, says religious affairs minister

Under the arrangement, more than 184,000 pilgrims will perform Hajj from Pakistan in 2019.

It was also decided to include Pakistani pilgrims in ‘Road to Makkah’ project in phases. Initially, 35, 000 pilgrims of Sindh will benefit from this scheme.

The process of verification and immigration of the pilgrims will be conducted at Karachi airport. According to the agreement, Pakistani pilgrims will be given e-visas.

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