Pakistan

Equal Treatment for All: No VIP Facilities for Ministers and Parliamentarians During Hajj

No VIP Facilities for Ministers or Parliamentarians During Hajj

Pakistan’s Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Senator Talha Mahmood, announced that ministers and parliamentarians would not receive any VIP facilities during the Hajj this year. The minister clarified that all MPs would be accommodated with other pilgrims without special treatment in tents or places. The resources provided to common Hujjaj would also be provided to the MPs. However, while Zamzam water is still free, the Saudi Arabian government is now charging for its packaging.

Quota and Expense

The number of applications received for this year’s Hajj fell short of the quota made available to Pakistan, and no balloting would occur. Hajj expenses for this year have been set at Rs1.175 million per pilgrim, which is 68% more than last year’s expenses. Saudi Arabia is welcoming around 2.3 million pilgrims this year, the largest number since the pandemic restrictions have been lifted.

Expenses Incurred

Explaining the expenses incurred on the Hajj operation, the minister highlighted that in 2019, buildings were rented for 2,600 Saudi Riyals, but now 1,900 to 2,300 riyals are being paid. The minister confirmed that out of the total quota of 179,210, the total number of applications received was 72,800 under the government Hajj scheme.

Eligibility and Safety

Only those between 18 and 65 who were fully vaccinated or immunized against the virus and did not suffer from chronic diseases were allowed to visit the kingdom for the 2022 Hajj season. The minister instructed all the ministry employees overseeing the Hajj operation that he would recommend chopping off the hands of whoever was caught stealing in Saudi Arabia. This stern warning highlights the gravity of the issue and the importance of ensuring the safety and security of all pilgrims.

Sponsorship Scheme

It is to be highlighted that 50% of the quota had been reserved for the Sponsorship Scheme, a special facility given to Hajj pilgrims seeking foreign exchange from abroad in the specific dollar account of the religious affairs ministry.

Conclusion

In conclusion, not providing VIP facilities to ministers or parliamentarians is a positive step toward ensuring fairness and equality for all pilgrims. The stern warning against stealing shows the importance of maintaining discipline and respect for the rules and regulations set forth by the government of Saudi Arabia. While the increased expenses may deter some from performing the Hajj, it is essential to ensure the safety and well-being of all pilgrims. The government of Pakistan is finalizing the arrangements for Hajj, and all necessary measures are being taken to provide a safe and secure environment for all pilgrims.

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