In a landmark announcement during a recent press conference in the federal capital, Pakistan's Caretaker Minister of Religious Affairs revealed unprecedented developments in the Hajj policy for the year 2024. The minister proudly declared that, for the first time in Pakistan's history, the cost of Hajj has been significantly reduced, with a remarkable one lakh rupees slashed without compromising the quality of services provided.
The comprehensive Hajj policy for 2024, recently approved by the Federal Cabinet, marks a paradigm shift in the approach towards the pilgrimage. One of the key highlights of the policy is the introduction of digitization, ensuring a seamless experience for pilgrims. Every participant will be equipped with a dedicated app, offering real-time assistance and preventing any risk of getting lost during the sacred journey. Additionally, each pilgrim will receive a substantial 7 GB data allowance on a SIM card, facilitating communication and connectivity throughout their 40-day pilgrimage.
Furthermore, the policy introduces significant amendments aimed at enhancing accessibility to the sacred journey. A total of 179,210 Pakistanis have been granted the privilege of performing Hajj in 2024. Notably, the revised policy eliminates age restrictions for Hajj duty, allowing even children under 10 years of age to partake in this spiritual journey. Private Hajj schemes have seen a relaxation in the requirement for accompanying attendants, particularly benefiting individuals above 80 years of age.
The Hajj policy also prioritizes the welfare of Pakistani students studying in local universities in Saudi Arabia. A notable provision allocates 50% of the quota of local assistants to these students, serving as welfare staff during the pilgrimage.
In a strategic move, the policy addresses the issue of unused sponsorship quotas by returning them to the Government of Saudi Arabia. Additionally, a foolproof monitoring system has been implemented to oversee the financial arrangements of Hajj group organizers, ensuring transparency and accountability. The policy also mandates Hajj Group Organizers to enter into agreements to hire local assistants during the stay in Saudi Arabia, with penalties and blacklisting for violations.
As Pakistan embraces these groundbreaking changes in its Hajj policy for 2024, the government aims to not only make the sacred pilgrimage more affordable but also to enhance the overall experience for pilgrims, fostering a sense of unity and spiritual fulfillment.
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