Pakistan Minister rejects free VIP Hajj, stresses equality for all pilgrims
Pakistan Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Senator Talha Mehmood has unequivocally made it clear that there will be no free or VIP Hajj for anyone, as all pilgrims will be required to stay with common Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia, regardless of their status or position in society.
In response to a point of order raised by Ms. Shagufta Jumani, the Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Senator Talha Mehmood, emphasized that the government would not be providing free Hajj to any individuals. The ministry had to surrender a quota of 7,000 to 8,000 pilgrims as it required a payment of 24 million dollars to Saudi Arabia.
However, he offered to accommodate 200 to 400 intending pilgrims who were willing to pay their dues. He further explained that he had acquired a building at a cheaper rate of 1,700 riyals as compared to the Hajj 2019 rate of 2,600 riyals. The minister also revealed that he personally visited Saudi Arabia on his own expense and had not received any funding from the government exchequer.
Pakistani pilgrims were paying Rs1,114 to get five litres of the sacred water upon their departure from Saudi Arabia, since 2017.
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