Thursday, June 1, 2023

Pakistan Returns Hajj Quota to Saudi Arabia First Time Ever Due to Economic Crisis

Due to a shortage of applications, rising inflation, and a scarcity of foreign currency, the Pakistani government has decided to relinquish its Hajj pilgrimage quota to Saudi Arabia.

This is the first time that Pakistan’s allocated quota remains unfulfilled due to financial constraints, making it difficult for people to undertake the religious journey.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs sought approval from the federal cabinet before making this decision, which is expected to save the cash-strapped country approximately $24 million. Initially, the Kingdom had assigned a quota of 179,000 pilgrims to Pakistan, marking the first Hajj operation since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of this allocation, 89,605 pilgrims were designated under the government scheme, while the remaining slots were reserved for the private sector.

Unfortunately, the government scheme fell short of the allocated quota by 8,000 applications. As a result, the surplus quota has been returned to Saudi Arabia, thereby averting additional expenses. It is worth mentioning that the cost of government-sponsored Hajj is approximately Rs1.2 million.

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