For the first time, Pakistan select Hajj officials through Testing exam 

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  • Pakistan selects hundreds of assistants, doctors every year to facilitate Pakistani pilgrims during the Hajj pilgrimage
  • Religious Affairs Minister Aneeq Ahmed says picking Hajj assistants via NTS will ensure transparency, better performance

Pakistan will be selecting assistants for this year’s Hajj pilgrimage through the National Testing Service (NTS) exam for the first time in its history, the country’s caretaker religious affairs minister said on Sunday.

Pakistan selects hundreds of assistants and doctors every year to facilitate local pilgrims in Saudi Arabia in performing rituals of the annual pilgrimage.

The individuals who intended to assist pilgrims during this year’s Hajj sat the NTS exam on Sunday to be able to proceed further.

“An important work is starting today. The selection of Hajj assistants is being done for the first time through the National Testing Service,” Religious Affairs Minister Aneeq Ahmed said, after witnessing the examination process at an NTS center in Islamabad.

“Keeping transparency in mind, selection is being done through NTS for the first time in history.”

Last year, Pakistan selected 794 Hajj assistants, while this year the country intends to pick 625 individuals to facilitate the pilgrims, according to the minister.

There will be 540 doctors on Hajj duty this year, who would be providing medical attention to pilgrims.

“Those passing the written test will perform better during the Hajj pilgrimage,” Ahmed said, promising to facilitate the pilgrims to the best.

Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage that has been in practice for over 1,400 years. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, and requires every adult Muslim to undertake a journey to the holy Islamic sites in Makkah at least once in their lifetime, if they are financially and physically able. This year’s pilgrimage is expected to run from June 14 till June 19.

Saudi Arabia last year restored Pakistan’s pre-pandemic Hajj quota of 179,210 pilgrims and abolished the upper age limit of 65 years. More than 81,000 Pakistani pilgrims performed Hajj under the government scheme in 2023, while the rest used private tour operators.
In December, Pakistan announced the results of a draw for Hajj 2024, with more than 63,000 applicants selected for the pilgrimage under the government scheme. The remaining candidates will apply through private tour operators.

Last month, the South Asian country began Hajj 2024 training workshops and educational sessions, designed by the government to educate pilgrims about the rituals and procedures of performing the pilgrimage.

Source: Arab News

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