Hajj to become more expensive in next few years – Qadri

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Saudi Arabia thinks govt should hand Hajj operations over to private tour operators
Pakistan Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Dr Noor ul Haq Qadri has said the Hajj pilgrimage will become even more expensive for the people in the next few years.
Talking to a news channel, the minister said Saudi Arabia wants all countries to gradually transfer Hajj packages to the private sector over the next three to four years, which would make it more expensive.

Noor ul Haq Qadri said the countries would have to agree to Saudi Arabia’s demand to privatise Hajj. His statement comes a few days after the federal cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan decided to abolish subsidy on Hajj, thus increasing the overall expenditure associated with performing the religious obligation.
He said a summary of Hajj subsidy was presented before the cabinet, but there could be no consensus among the cabinet members on the matter. “Prime Minister Imran said he could not agree on the subsidy in view of the economic woes,” the minister added.

He further said that Saudi Arabia has increased Hajj expenditures for pilgrims worldwide. Qadri, when questioned about the time frame for implementing a change in the quota, said that the Saudi government wants to do it “through a process”.

“As soon as possible, [they] first want every country to [change the quota] to 50pc, then 60pc [for private operators], then 70pc,” Qadri added.Under the quota of 184,000 pilgrims given this year to Pakistan by the government of Saudi Arabia, 10,000 senior citizens are expected to perform Haj.

He said the government will have to accept the Saudi authorities demand for phase by phase privatization of Haj. Answering a question, he said Haj and Umrah couldn’t be offered free of cost in the state of Madina, adding that there would be no change in Haj expenses for now.

Noorul Haq Qadri said Saudi government increased Haj expenses for entire world and the government doesn’t plan to demand a decrease during Crown Prince’s visit.
Observer Report

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