Among several petitions relating the Hajj operations which are now pending before the Islamabad High Court (IHC), the Ministry of Religious Affairs is all set to hold the Hajj balloting of the fifty percent of the total Hajj quota 2018 today.
The balloting would be happening around 4 pm at the Ministry under the supervision of the State Minister for Religious Affairs—Pir Muhammad Amin Ul Hasnat Shah.
On Wednesday, the Federal Cabinet presided by the Prime Minister—Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, permitted the Ministry to go on with the balloting on half of the quota after reviewing the status of the legal proceedings.
Pakistan is needed to inform the Saudi Arabia officials about the total count of pilgrims before the 3rd of March in order to finalize the flight operations.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs Secretary briefed the cabinet meeting about the development in the arrangements for the Hajj 2018 operations.
The cabinet also instructed the Ministry to appeal to the Islamabad High Court for the early settlement of the cases, banged together on the orders of the Supreme Court.
The balloting of the fifty percent quota would not be in any way affecting the pleas of the Private Hajj Operators who had obtained stay orders against the new Hajj Policy 2018.
The private tour operators pleaded at the Sindh and Lahore High Courts after the government reduced their quota from forty to thirty-three percent under the new Hajj policy. On their petitions, the High Courts issued stay orders, thus halting the balloting—which was initially to be conducted on the 26th of January.
Saudi Arab has allocated the provisional quota of one lac seventy-nine thousand two hundred and ten pilgrims to Pakistan for the current year. Under the new policy, one lac twenty thousand pilgrims would be selected under the government scheme via balloting while the remaining quota would be allotted to the private tour operators.