With the Hajj policy, many thought that the government had increased the Hajj rates or had removed the subsidy. But the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Mohammad Khan, went into detail to explain the change in costs for those visiting Saudi Arabia to perform their religious duty.
Ali Mohammad Khan presented a break down of the Hajj expenses increased by the Saudi government:
|Building rent||Rs. 60,900||Rs. 94,185|
|Transportation||Rs. 9,000||Rs. 13,104|
|Food charges||Rs. 23,000||Rs. 38000|
|Accommodation in Madina||Rs. 23,200||Rs. 40,000|
|Train Charges||Rs. 7,250||Rs. 20,000|
|Cost of Animal sacrifice||Rs. 13,050||Rs.19,451|
|Air Travel||not provided||Rs.17,000|
The federal government has reacted strongly to the opposition’s blame that the current Hajj policy was against PTI’s promise of the ‘State of Madina.’
He has stated that 70 percent of hajj expenses are incurred in Saudi Arabia and the government had no control over it.
He made these remarks on Friday while responding to a call to attention notice in the Senate.
The notice submitted from Jamat-e-Islami’s Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan lamented the government’s decision. The government had claimed that a ‘State of Madina’ will be made but its first Hajj policy is disappointing. “Those who claimed to make a ‘State of Medina’ are stopping people from going to Makkah and Medina,” Senator Mushtaq lamented.
Responding to the notice, the minister said the matter was out of the government’s control because Saudi Arabia has increased the Hajj expenses by up to 50 percent and that a major part of hajj expenses incurred are in the Kingdom.
“Seventy percent of Hajj expenditures are incurred in Saudi Arabia, and the government of Pakistan cannot control them,” Ali Mohammad added.
The minister went on to say that the PMLN government did not increase the Hajj expenses because it was the election year. Hajj is considered as a business opportunity by Saudi Arabia and with dwindling oil prices an increase in expenses was expected for foreigners visiting the Kingdom to perform their religious duty.