The government has rolled out an SMS alert service to provide real-time information to the Hajj pilgrims and verify private Hajj tour operators.
Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, Pir Noorul Haq Qadri, announced the initiative while speaking at an event organized by Hajj Organisers Association of Pakistan (HOAP) and the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
The SMS service, 8331, is also intended to identify fraudsters claiming to be Hajj tour operators. The minister said the launch of the new alert service will prevent hoaxes in the name of Hajj pilgrimage.
He said that private tour operators can be verified via mobile phone messaging. Qadri added that people will now be able to distinguish between sub-agents, unregistered, and non-quota tour operators through the SMS service.
As much as 184,210 pilgrims are expected to perform Hajj among whom 107,526 will be doing so under the government scheme and 71,684 under the private tour operators.