This year’s Hajj costs are out of reach– Pakistan High Court
The High Court has commented that the Hajj packages of the present year are inhumane.
A High Court bench comprising Justice KM Kamrul Quader and Justice Mohammad Ali made the comments during the hearing of the writ seeking direction to reduce the cost of Hajj on Tuesday.
In the hearing, the court said: “This time Hajj expense is so high that let alone common people, we ourselves are scared by it.”
Referring to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the court said: “As a result of fixing the cost so high, those who are eligible are not able to go for Hajj. It is an inhuman Hajj package. Those involved in its formation will share in the guilt.”
Regarding air fares, the court said: “Airlines cannot impose the responsibility of crores of taka on Hajj passengers. There are Hajj funds in Malaysia and Indonesia. Bangladesh and India have less funds. Only Bangabandhu thought about it. After him, nobody thought about it.”
“There is an attempt to do business here,” the court said referring to not having the facility to purchase tickets for any other airline other than Saudi and Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
Later, the High Court sought to know how the Hajj package was fixed at Tk6,83,018 for the current season and what is the latest position of the Ministry of Religious Affairs regarding the Hajj package. The court asked Deputy Attorney General Abdullah Al Mahmud to inform the concerned officials of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Besides, Wednesday has been fixed as the date for further hearing of the writ.
On March 6, a legal notice was sent to the government to revise the Hajj package price for the current year and set it at Tk4 lakh. Advocate Ashraf Uz Zaman, Supreme Court lawyer and chief coordinator of Al-Qur’an Study Centre, sent this notice to the secretary of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
However, not getting a response to that notice, a writ was filed to reduce the price of the Hajj package for the current season and re-announce the package. Supreme Court lawyer Advocate Ashraf Uz Zaman filed the public interest writ on Sunday.
The government has determined the cost of Hajj in the current year under government management at Tk6,83,018. On the other hand, without sacrifice (qurbani), the minimum cost for Hajj pilgrims under private management is set at Tk6,72,618 which was Tk5,22,744 in the previous year. That means an increase of Tk1.5 lakh is seen compared to the previous year.
The holy Hajj will be held on June 27 subject to sighting of the moon.
On this occasion, a bilateral agreement was signed between the Saudi government and the Bangladesh government on January 9.
According to the agreement, the quota of pilgrims this year has been fixed at Tk1,27,198 people. Out of this, 15,000 people under government management and Tk1,12,198 people under private management can perform the holy Hajj.
This year, the pre-arrival immigration of 100% of pilgrims traveling to Saudi Arabia through Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport will be held at the airport in accordance with the Road to Makkah Service Agreement.
SOURCE: DHAKAR TRIBUNE
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