Saudi Arabia has accepted the request from Pakistan’s private Hajj tour operators concerning the size of pilgrim groups, marking a significant adjustment in the pilgrimage dynamics.
In a recent development, the Saudi authorities, through an official letter to the Pakistani government, granted permission for private Hajj tour operators to organize groups of 500 pilgrims, as opposed to the previous limit of 2000 pilgrims.
This decision signals a major reorganization for Pakistan’s 905 private tour operators, who will now structure their operations into 180 ‘unified groups.’ The primary objective behind this move is to improve operational efficiency and coordination, addressing concerns raised by tour operators for a more streamlined and organized Hajj pilgrimage process.
In related news, designated branches of banks commenced the acceptance of applications for the Hajj 2024. The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony disclosed that 15 branches of designated banks nationwide will be receiving applications for the government’s Hajj scheme until December 12.
Anticipating 197,201 Pakistani pilgrims for the upcoming year’s sacred journey, the government has already reduced Hajj expenses by Rs100,000. Notably, the caretaker government has introduced a short Hajj package for the first time in Pakistan’s history.
In a groundbreaking move, women will now have the opportunity to undertake the sacred journey without the traditional requirement of a male companion, reflecting a progressive shift in the approach to this religious obligation.