Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman Al Saud has agreed to waive off the additional Umrah tax of 2000 riyals imposed on Pakistanis who want to perform Umrah every year.
The Secretary of Religious Affairs revealed this development while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs on the Haj Operations 2018. He stated that the crown prince agreed to end the tax upon the request of Prime Minister Imran Khan during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia.
The chairman of the committee Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said that he had been receiving complaints regarding the Saudi administration levying a tax of 2000 riyals on Pakistanis performing more than one Umrah within two years.
He added said that the act was discriminatory and the government should take up this matter with the Saudi authorities.
The secretary stated before the committee that the treatment was not discriminatory since it was imposed on people coming from anywhere in the world.
He also told the committee that the rationale behind imposing this tax was to discourage repeated Umrah by a few people. However, the Saudi government abolished the tax on the people coming from Turkey and Egypt upon the request of these countries.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan made the same request in his recent visit to the Kingdom who agreed to abolish the tax. He also said the Kingdom will notify the waiver soon.
Some members of the committee criticized the move saying that this waiver will only favor a few people. The briefing also involved Hajj Operations 2018. The secretary also stated that the ministry of religious affairs will begin the preparation for Hajj operations 2019 in January.
Several members criticized the government on its arrangements for the Hajj pilgrims last year. The chairman also resented that he performed Hajj almost every year and the only mismanagement seen was on Pakistan’s side.
Via: Daily Pakistan