Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Goverment to Provide Free SIMs with Internet to Pakistani Pilgrims

The Caretaker Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony, Aneeq Ahmed, made a significant announcement on Tuesday, outlining various initiatives aimed at facilitating and enhancing the experience for Pakistani citizens performing Haj in 2024.

One notable initiative is the government’s plan to distribute free mobile SIM cards equipped with roaming internet packages to individuals undertaking the pilgrimage. This move is designed to ensure that pilgrims have seamless communication and connectivity during their Haj journey.

The minister highlighted the government’s commitment to reducing the financial burden on pilgrims by slashing the Haj cost by approximately Rs100,000. Additionally, an extra Rs50,000 will be refunded to the individuals, reflecting a substantial effort to make the pilgrimage more accessible and affordable for the Pakistani people.

In a bid to address the specific needs of female pilgrims, it was announced that abayas featuring the Pakistani flag on the backside would be provided. Moreover, all pilgrims will be given 13kg suitcases, offering practical support for their travel needs.

Recognizing the importance of technological assistance, a new mobile application has been developed to aid pilgrims. Initially available in English and Urdu, the app is set to expand its language support to various regional languages.

It will not only provide navigation support but also offer digital training programs for every pilgrim, aligning with the broader goal of leveraging technology for a more informed and empowered pilgrimage experience.

Beyond the immediate context of the Haj, Minister Aneeq Ahmed outlined collaborative projects with the education ministry to repurpose city mosques into schools for out-of-school children.

Imams will play a leading role in this transformation, and the mosques will serve as community centers, actively addressing community issues post-prayers. Additionally, there are plans to establish medical clinics within mosques, in collaboration with the health ministry, further emphasizing the multifaceted role of mosques in contributing to the well-being of the community.

These initiatives reflect a comprehensive approach by the government to not only facilitate the pilgrimage experience but also to leverage religious spaces for broader societal development and welfare.

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