Second Hajj balloting under govt scheme today


ISLAMABAD: Second Hajj balloting under government scheme will be held today (Friday).
Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sardar Muhammad Yousaf will conduct the balloting for the remaining 10% intending pilgrims to select 375 intending pilgrims in the general category, said an official of the ministry.
“The government exempted all 12,623 applicants, who have applied for the past three years consecutively, and other 7400 intending pilgrims aged 80 and above, from the balloting process.”
These exempted applicants need not go through any selection process to perform Hajj, he said.
On March 1, Hajj balloting took place and names of 87,813 people were announced.
Earlier, the federal cabinet okayed 67% under the government scheme and 33% for private tour operators. However, the Islamabad High Court directed the ministry to keep the government scheme quota at 60% and that of tour operators at 40%.
The government requested the Supreme Court, in a review petition, to allow increase in the Hajj quota from 60% to 67%.
“We selected 87,813 intending pilgrims in the first balloting on March 1. Any information regarding today’s balloting will be messaged through mobile phone message,” said Sardar Yousaf while addressing a press conference today.
“According the judicial verdict, 60% is the government quota and remaining 40% is private Hajj scheme quota.”
In case the apex court rules in the ministry’s favor, the balloting for the seven percent intending pilgrims will be carried out, said the official. The remaining 280,000 families will have to wait until the final decision regarding the quota is announced.
The government is making efforts to provide the best possible facilities including accommodation and transportation in Saudi Arabia to the Hajj pilgrims, he added.


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