The government of Pakistan has warned people to be aware of Hajj operators before the announcement of the official Hajj policy.
The alert was issued by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony for the potential pilgrims intending to go for pilgrimage this year. The message came after complaints were received regarding Hajj tour operators taking money from the intending pilgrims. Ministry further warned that it has not authorized any individuals, banks, tour operators, and other organizations to receive Hajj applications and money on behalf of the government.
“People are advised never to hand their passport and money to any individual or tour operator until the Hajj Policy 2022 is announced and published at the ministry’s website, in newspapers, and electronic media. They are allowed to submit their applications only after the ministry authorizes banks and private tour operators to receive Hajj applications,” the letter stated.
جعلی #حج بکنگ کی شکایات ملنے پر وزارت کا نوٹس؛ عوام حج 2022 کی بکنگ کیلئے کسی کو پیسے مت دیں۔ ابھی تک #Hajj #Policy 2022 کا اعلان نہیں ہوا نہ ہی کسی کو حج بکنگ کی اجازت ہے۔ جعلی حج بکنگ کرنے والے افراد/کمپنی کی شکایات کیلئے حج ہیلپ لائن 9205696، 9216980،82 پر رابطہ کریں۔ pic.twitter.com/iy5xZPinlF
— Ministry of Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony (@MORAisbOfficial) January 13, 2022
The letter urged people to beware of fraudsters extorting money from people in the name of Hajj. The government has warned that people looting the public in the name of Hajj will bear consequences.
The ministry has urged people to lodge complaints against fraudsters at given numbers: 051-9205696; 051-9206980-82.
Increase in Hajj quota
In December 2021, the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony was informed on Tuesday that next year’s Pakistan Hajj quota for the year 2022 was being enhanced from 179,210 to 200,000 Hujjaj.
The Committee was informed that the Hajj quota would be distributed at a ratio of 60:40 — 60 percent allocation for Government Hujjaj and 40 percent for Hajj Group Organisers. Hajj quota of 5,000 pilgrims has been allocated to 100 new private companies as well.
The committee was informed that an e-Visa facility would be provided to all pilgrims. Challenges entailed following health protocols; acceptance of Chinese vaccinations; Pakistan being kept on the Red list and approvals to upscale the ‘Road to Makkah’ initiative. Since this will predominantly be an IT-based Hajj, finding volunteers that were tuned to rapidly changing IT trends and healthcare practices would be a major concern as well.