Govt determined to provide best facilities to Hajj pilgrims: Aneeq Ahmed

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KARACHI, Nov 20 (APP): Caretaker Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Aneeq Ahmed, Monday said that government was determined to provide the best facilities to Hajj pilgrims as facilitating citizens in performing religious rituals and worship was among the responsibilities of the state. He was addressing to inaugural ceremony of Bankers Training regarding Hajj portal for Hajj 2024 here, said that for the first time in the country not only a significant decrease had been witnessed in Hajj expenses but the ministry was striving to ensure maximum facilities to pilgrims throughout their entire pilgrimage.

He said that Hajj expenses had declined to Rs10,75000 this year from Rs 1175000 of the previous year while negotiations were underway with airlines for reduction in airfare. In case of cut down in air ticket the corresponding amount would be transferred into accounts of Hujaj-e-Karam, he added. Another innovative facilities being introduced this year was launch of an App for Hujaj that would provide updates to pilgrims from filing of the Hajj application to their return from the Hijaz-e-Muqadas, the minister informed. The ‘Road to Makkah’ program, a facility being offered by Saudi government to Hujaj, was earlier limited to Islamabad only but this year it will be extended to Karachi airport as well, Aneeq Ahmed said adding that MORA was striving to expand the facility to other major airports of the country for better facilitation of pilgrims. The minster said that another positive progress made this year was provision of tent space in Old Mina area to Pakistani Hujaj while they would also be provided commuting facility through dedicated fleet of state of the art buses. The ministry would provide QR code marked suite case and other articles to every pilgrim while specially designed head scarves with Pakistani flag would be given to women Hujaj, he stated adding that special care had being taken to ensure quality services to pilgrims. The minster appreciated role of banking sector in providing special services every year to the intending pilgrims and said that banks had always extended assistance to government in the process of Hujj applications without compromising the quality of services. General Manager Business HBL, Raja Suhail Siraj said that enitre Hujj process was being carried out in an organized and smooth manner this year. He said that bank officials also wanted to gain prayers of Hujaj-e-Karam and they would leave no stone unturned for ensuring the best services to intending pilgrims. At the occasion, the participants of training workshop were briefed in detail about the process and requirements for filing Hajj applications and data collection forms while queries of the participants regarding various aspects were answered as well.