The Lahore High Court asked the secretary of the Ministry of Religious Affairs to file a reply till March 16 on a petition seeking the formulation of a transparent Hajj Policy, 2012 and the allocation of quotas to tour operators on merit. The petitioner, Advocate Azhar Muhammad Siddique, submitted that the ministry was delaying the announcement of Hajj Policy, 2012 as it had done last year. He said last year when he had challenged the Hajj Policy for being unfair, the ministry had told the court that there was no time left to revise the policy. The petitioner said last year about Rs80 million was collected from the pilgrims under charges including rent of apartments in Saudi Arabia and insurance etc. He said the ministry favored certain private tour operators.
Haj policy-2012 is yet to be announced but the tour operators raised hue and cry on Wednesday sensing that their proposals would not be incorporated in the policy by Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Representatives of Joint Action Committee of All Pakistan Haj Quota Affectees (JAC-HQA) including Sahibzada Muhammad Sajid, Mazhar Hussain, SM Khalid, Muhammad Shahid Khan, Khalid Sultan and others said in a joint press conference on Wednesday that they held meetings with Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Shah and presented suggestions for the upcoming policy but the ministry officials were not ready to give importance to their proposals.
They warned they would not accept the Haj policy which, according to them, was against the wishes of the people. “We will launch a countrywide protest against one-sided policy; they said and appealed to President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary and religious affairs ministry that all the companies should be registered and given Haj quota in accordance with the Supreme Court decision. They also demanded that unnecessary conditions for registration and grant of quota should be removed.
Haj operators demanded that they should be given 200 pilgrims quota each as they assured that they would provide more facilities to pilgrims than the government. According to them, 1,90,000 people will perform pilgrimage this year.
Representatives of the action committee also announced that they would stage a protest demonstration in front of the religious affairs ministry tomorrow (Thursday) to press the government for the acceptance of their demands. ( Source dawn.com. )
April 05, 2012 :- ISLAMABAD – The Ministry of Religious Affairs will start receiving Haj applications from April 20 and the policy of first come first serve will continue, spokesman Hafiz Sher Ali said Wednesday. He said Haj expenditures are likely to increase this year due to inflation. Haj fares have already been finalized. The new fare for Government Haj Scheme would be Rs73, 000 from Quetta, Karachi and Rs85, 000 would be charged from Islamabad, Peshawar and Lahore.A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony withPIA would be held on April 15, he added. The Haj policy draft would be presented soon before the cabinet for approval. He said, as many as 179,210 lucky persons would perform Haj this year. Half of them would perform Haj under the Government scheme while the rest under private scheme. The intending pilgrims have been divided into Green, Blue and White category. The intending pilgrims, who pay 7500 riyals, would be provided residential facilities within 900-m of Haram Sharif. And they would be placed in the Blue category. The Green category pilgrims would be provided residential facilities from 900 to 2000 metres from Haram Sharif in 5000 riyals. White category pilgrims would be provided residences from over 2000 meters from Haram Sharif in 3600 riyals. Responding to a question he said the quota of parliamentarians would not be restored. Machine readable passport, Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) have been declared mandatory this year also.
Apr 11: The last date for submitting Hajj applications for undertaking pilgrimage to Holy cities of Makkah and Madina has been extended.
State Hajj Committee (SHC) officials in Jammu and Kashmir said here today that the Hajj-2012 applications will now be accepted till April 25.
They said the pilgrims can now submit their applications by or before April 25.
However, only those have valid international passport can apply for the pilgrimage.
In case the number of applications exceeds the total number of seats, the selection will be made through draw of lots. But those who are applying for the past three years and are above 70 years of age will be given preference.
New Hajj Policy 2012 today ( Mecca Hotel Deals )
The federal cabinet, scheduled to meet on Wednesday (today), will approve Hajj Policy 2012, according to which 179,210 Pakistanis will perform Hajj and airfare for southern and northern regions will be different.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will chair the cabinet meeting.Official documents available with Business Recorder showed that after signing bilateral annual agreement between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on February 22 this year, Hajj Policy 2011 had been modified on the basis of an in-depth analysis and consultations with all stakeholders through Hajj workshops at Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Quetta.The salient features of the Hajj Policy 2012 are: The Hajj quota for 2012 will remain 179,210 while the Hajj Scheme 2012 will be implemented through government and private Hajj Group Organisers (HGOs) on 50:50 basis.
Applications for Hajj-2012 will be received on the principle of ‘first-come, first-served’ under the Government Hajj Scheme.Applications for Hajj would be invited via designated banks after the approval of the Hajj Policy.
Any person who has performed Hajj during the past five years will not be eligible to perform Hajj in 2012 except Mehrams, Group Leaders or ones undertaking Haj-e-Badal.Under the Government Hajj scheme, three categories of accommodation – blue category within 900 meters without transport with a rental ceiling of Saudi Riyals (SR) 7,500 per pilgrim, green category within 2,000 metres with transport with a rental ceiling of SR5,000 per pilgrim and white category beyond 2,000 meters with transport with a rental ceiling of SR3,600 per pilgrim have been proposed.Rent in Makkah will be charged on actual basis while in Madinah, it will be charged at a flat rate of SR500 per pilgrim.
Five percent of the total seats under the Government scheme will be reserved for hardship cases and for pilgrims recommended and funded by charitable institutions, labour/ low-paid employees of different public sector organisations/corporate entities under the concept of corporate social responsibility.Pilgrims under the government scheme will not be required to pay any amount on account of personal exchange quota and the same will be arranged by them from open market through banks or foreign exchange companies.Four air carriers would fly pilgrims – PIA, Shaheen Air International, Saudi Airline and NAS Air as per revised Air Service Agreement (ASA) between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
An MoU for airfare – Rs 73,000 for southern region and Rs 85,000 for northern region as finalised in the meeting on March 19 this year – has been sent to the MD, PIAC for signatures.
However, the Ministry of Religious Affairs has proposed that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should be directed to waive additional charges of handling pilgrim this year.In pursuance of the Supreme Court’s order of July 7, 2011 in CPLA No 937/2011, the enlistment of HGOs will be made through a public notice in the press for inviting applications according to the criteria laid down in the Hajj Policy.
For welfare services during Hajj-2012, Hajj Medical Mission, comprising 540 personnel, 230 Khuddamul Hujjaj, 270 seasonal duty staff and 900 local Khuddamul Hujjaj in KSA will be deputed subject to availability of resources and in case of shortage it would be met through the volunteer Khudaamul Hujjaj scheme.A comprehensive awareness campaign will be launched for educating and training the intending pilgrims.
The Hujjaj Mohafiz scheme, based on the concept of ‘Takaful’, will be continued in Hajj Policy-2012.
A monitoring and supervision mechanism for Hajj operation in Pakistan and KSA shall be strengthened and the new policy shall be valid for three years subject to adjustment to be made by the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
The policy will be implemented in accordance with the proposed work plan. Source Business Recorder
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