An authoritative source revealed on Saturday that Pakistan’s religious affairs ministry will offer 50% Hajj sponsorship quota for expatriate Pakistanis and their local relatives who plan to pay in US dollars.
Adult Muslims with the means must perform the Hajj at least once in their lives in Dhu al-Hijjah, the concluding month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
Saudi Arabia reinstated Pakistan’s pre-pandemic Hajj quota of 179,210 pilgrims and eliminated the upper age limit of 65 earlier this year.
In recent weeks, Pakistani officials have also maintained that those who pay in US money for the spiritual pilgrimage will not be required to vote.
“Religious Affairs Minister Mufti Abdul Shakoor met with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to talk about the Hajj policy, sponsorship scheme, and payment of funds in the kingdom,” a senior ministry official told Arab News on the condition of anonymity.
“It was decided in principle to set the sponsorship Hajj scheme quota at 50 percent, instead of the 25 percent that had been proposed before, in order to meet the foreign exchange needs for this year’s Hajj,” he said.
Even though the economy is bad, the official told the finance minister that the government would try to get the foreign currency it needs for the Hajj season.
The meeting between the two ministers on Saturday was also confirmed by the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) news agency, which said that Dar “expressed a firm commitment to offer maximum support and cooperation” to help the pilgrims.
“Hajj is a sacred religious duty that every Muslim must fulfil, and we all have to do our part for the blessings of the Most High Allah,” the APP said he said.
Pakistan’s leadership introduced the sponsorship scheme on a big scale for the first time due to its financial problems, diminishing forex reserves, and quickly devaluing currency.
The top ministry official stated the plan would only assist foreign Pakistanis or their family.
“Pakistanis remitting foreign cash from overseas to designated accounts will profit from the scheme,” he added. “Pakistanis can join the scheme.”