After facing severe criticism from the masses for projecting government-funded Hajj expenses between Rs 0.750 million and Rs 1 million shortly after coming into power in March, the government on Friday informed the National Assembly that all-out efforts are being made to bring down the Hajj 2022 expenses below Rs 6,50,000.
Soon after coming into power in March this year, the coalition government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had said that the Hajj expenses would go up due to various factors, making it almost impossible for the common man to perform Hajj.
However, in a policy statement in the house, the Minister for Religious Affairs, Molvi Abdul Shakoor, said that the government is still busy negotiating with the Saudi government and other quarters concerned to reduce the expenses of the upcoming Hajj from 650,000 aimed at extending maximum facilities to intending pilgrims in performing the religious obligation.
He said that the ministry had hired residential buildings in Makkah at the rate of 2,100 Saudi riyals against the rate of 3,600 riyals paid in 2019 by the previous government.
He said that the Religious Affairs Ministry had hired buildings in Madina at 720 riyals against the rate of 2,100 riyals paid in 2019.
According to him, Saudi Arabia had fixed 9,500 riyals for each intending pilgrim of D-Category against 5,500 riyals.
He said that due to the hectic efforts of the government, the expense for Hajj 2022 had been brought down to Rs 65,000 and efforts were underway to further reduce it.
“The food and transport expenses have also been reduced by the government of Saudi Arabia on the request of the government”, he added.
Soon after taking charge as minister for religious affairs, he added, he was shocked to know about the exorbitant Hajj expense.
“When I got to know about such expensive Hajj, I’d made up my mind to quit instead of giving expensive Hajj news to people who intend to perform Hajj,” he claimed despite, making the announcement shortly after taking charge as minister for Religious Affairs. The house was prorogued sine die.
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