Pakistan will "reserve 50% of the Hajj quota" for travelers paying using US dollars.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony decided to allocate a 50% special quota in the Government Hajj Scheme-2023 for the pilgrims who will pay their dues in US dollars.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony decided to allocate a 50% special quota in the Government Hajj Scheme-2023 for the pilgrims who will pay their dues in US dollars, according to well-placed sources on Friday. This decision was made due to a severe shortage of the greenback and a crumbling economy.
It is important to note that banks are currently refusing to provide fresh letters of credit for importers due to a shortage of dollars, which is hurting an already struggling economy caused by skyrocketing inflation. Before, the ministry had agreed to reserve a 25% Hajj quota for individuals who would deposit their dues in US dollars; however, the authorities have been forced to reassess this decision as the finance ministry has declined to provide $2 billion for the Hajj expenses.
Next, ministry representatives will call Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to urge him to release the funds. The sources claimed that the federal cabinet would receive the Hajj Policy 2023 next week for final approval and that the cabinet is likely to do so within the next 8 to 10 days. The ministry had enhanced the Hajj quota for private operators from 40% to 50%, according to the sources, and given the ongoing foreign exchange liquidity crisis, this quota may be expanded even more. According to the official program, the ministry would charge each pilgrim Rs1.1 million, but according to well-placed sources, if the rupee continues to depreciate, the Hajj expenses could increase to Rs1.3 million.
According to the sources, the Saudi Arabian government is raising the Hajj tax from 18% to 20%.
The cost of the Hajj pilgrimage has been a major concern for many Pakistanis in recent years. The cost of the pilgrimage has risen significantly in recent years, making it difficult for many people to afford it. The cost of the pilgrimage is likely to be even higher this year, due to the ongoing economic crisis in the country.
The decision to reserve 50% of the Hajj quota for pilgrims paying in US dollars is expected to be welcomed by many Pakistanis. However, some have criticized the move, arguing that it discriminates against those who cannot afford to pay in dollars. They argue that the government should be doing more to help those who are struggling to afford the cost of the pilgrimage.
Overall, the decision to reserve 50% of the Hajj quota for pilgrims paying in US dollars is a reflection of the economic challenges facing Pakistan. While the move may be controversial, it is intended to encourage more people to pay in dollars, which will help to ease the burden on the country's economy. It remains to be seen how effective the policy will be in practice, and whether it will succeed in increasing the number of Pakistani pilgrims who can afford the cost of the Hajj.
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