The Secretary of Religious Affairs & Inter-Faith Harmony on Monday said that for the Hajj 2017 five thousand extra visas (Mujalma visas) were offered by the Saudi Arabia government to the government of Pakistan. But these extra offered visas were not availed because of the shortage of time and arrangements for Pakistani pilgrims in the Haramain.

The Secretary while briefing the NA Standing Committee on Religious Affairs & Inter-Faith Harmony said that a request has been sent to the Saudi Arab government for the enhancement of Hajj quota of 2018. He also said that the five thousand issued visas were given by the Saudi Embassy in the capital city of Pakistan (Islamabad) on the embassy’s unrestricted authority.

The assembly members expressed their disappointment and displeasure for not availing the offer issued by the Saudi Embassy before Hajj 2017.

Also Read: Expected Rise in Hajj/Umrah Visa Fees

The secretary justified the lapse by saying that the proposal of five thousand extra Hajj visas was received late by the Ministry. At that time the Hajj Policy 2017 had already been approved by the cabinet. He further mentioned that in future the committee recommendations would be given a clear priority. Some committee members believed a third party should be hired for doing the audit of Hajj 2017, its funds, utilization and incurred expenses.

On the topic of issues faced by the pilgrims of Pakistan he mentioned about the problem faced by the pilgrims of Quetta who were traveling via Pakistan International Airline, he said that the problem occurred because of the mismanagement of the PIA. For the next meeting, it was decided that the civil aviation officials would also be summoned for discussing the arrangement plans for Hajj 2018.

Details of the hardship Hajj quota of the last three years issued on the approvals of the members of National Assembly was also demanded by the committee from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Inter-Faith Harmony.

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