8331 service would enable pilgrims to resolve issue pertaining to annual pilgrimage. PHOTO: EXPRESS
The government on Wednesday introduced an SMS alert service to address issues related to the Hajj pilgrims in a timely manner and verify private tour operators for the holiest annual event for Muslims.
Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri announced the initiative at an event jointly organised by Hajj Organisers Association of Pakistan (HOAP) and the Ministry of Religious Affairs at a private hotel in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa capital.
The 8331 service is aimed at singling out fraudsters disguised as Hajj tour operators, said the minister while addressing the ceremony. He said the change was visible in the country after his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party assumed power in last year’s elections.
Qadri said with the launch of the new alert service, looting in the name of Hajj pilgrimage would stop, adding that private tour operators can now be verified through the mobile phone messaging.
The ministry was striving to provide best possible facilities to the pilgrims, said the religious affairs minister, adding that the masses would be able to differentiate between unregistered, sub-agents and non-quota tour operators through the SMS service.
A total of 184, 210 candidates will go for Hajj this year of which 107,526 will perform the religious pilgrimage under the government scheme and 71,684 under the private tour operators.