The Religious Affairs Ministry of Pakistan has decided to return the money deposited by successful applicants of government’s Hajj 2020 scheme. Imran Siddiqui, the ministry’s spokesperson, confirmed this in a public statement.
He said that an emergency meeting of the Hajj formulation committee was convened to discuss the mechanism after Saudi Arabia’s plans to host the pilgrimage in closed borders.
An emergency meeting has been called to review the latest development during which the mechanism for the return of payments to those who had registered themselves for the government’s Hajj scheme would be discussed.
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit the country, a total of 179,210 Pakistanis had registered for the pilgrimage this year, including 107,526 intending pilgrims under the government scheme and 71,684 under the private program.
Siddiqui said that the Saudi government informed Pakistan on the development through its Minister for Hajj and Umrah Dr. Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten.
They will allow only 1000 pilgrims this year residing in the Kingdom to perform Hajj, as the ritual would be scaled back due to coronavirus, he said.
The number of pilgrims will be around 1,000, maybe less, maybe a little more. They won’t be in tens or hundreds of thousands this year.
Earlier on Monday, the Saudi government had announced to host Hajj 2020 with very limited pilgrims. In a statement, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah had said that the Saudi government will not welcome convoys from any Muslim countries. Instead, it will only allow citizens of different counties already in the Kingdom to perform Hajj this year.