Islamabad, November 17, 2023 – The Minister for Religious Affairs, Aneeq Ahmed, has officially released the details of the Hajj policy for the year 2024. In an announcement that marks a departure from previous years, the cost of performing Hajj has been reduced. This development comes as a relief to many aspiring pilgrims and is part of a broader set of guidelines aimed at facilitating the sacred journey.
Application Process and Eligibility
The ministry will begin accepting Hajj applications from November 27 until December 12, with the date for the Hajj draw to be announced subsequently. To be eligible, applicants must possess a CNIC issued by NADRA and a passport valid until at least December 16, 2024.
A token from a passport application will also be accepted. All applications, along with the required expenses, must be deposited at designated banks.
Hajj Packages and Pricing
Pakistan has been allocated 179,000 Hajj seats by the Saudi government, to be divided equally between government and private schemes. Pilgrims can select from three types of packages based on their convenience.
The Long Hajj Package spans up to 42 days, including eight days in Madina, costing Rs. 1,065,000 for departures from southern regions and Rs. 1,075,000 from northern regions. A Short Hajj Package, concluding in a maximum of 25 days, will cost an additional Rs. 80,000 over the normal package.
For overseas Pakistanis, the Sponsorship Scheme allows payment in US dollars, with costs set at $3,800 and $3,765 for northern and southern departures, respectively. Under this scheme, the short package prices rise to $4,015 and $4,050 for the two regions.
Facilities and Services
Under the government scheme, pilgrims will receive training, vaccinations, medical facilities in Saudi Arabia, round-trip flight tickets, complete transport, and 5-litres of Zamzam water.
Special Considerations and Restrictions
Certain restrictions apply to those who have performed Hajj between 2017 and 2023; they are ineligible unless men wish to accompany women as per Mehram who have not performed Hajj during this period.
Women can perform Hajj without a male guardian if they provide an affidavit confirming parental or spousal permission and that they are part of a women’s group without safety concerns. Pilgrims over 80 must have an attendant and 25,000 seats are reserved for the Sponsorship Scheme on a first-come, first-served basis.
Overseas Applicants and Health Requirements
Overseas Pakistanis must send the pilgrim’s name, ID card, and contact details with the payment to the Ministry’s dollar account in Pakistani banks. They must also submit a medical fitness certificate or an affidavit stating their health status and intent to obtain a certificate from Pakistan before their Hajj flight.
This policy aims to streamline the Hajj experience while making it more accessible and affordable for Pakistani Muslims. With these new guidelines and facilities, the government hopes to ensure a smooth and spiritually fulfilling pilgrimage for all participants in 2024.