ISLAMABAD:The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony managed to increase the country’s Hajj quota from 184,210 to 200,000 pilgrims in 20l9, enabling more Pakistanis to perform Hajj.
According to the one year performance report of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government shared by Special Assistant to Prime Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, the ministry convinced Saudi Arabia to include Pakistan in Road to Makkah project, under which immigration and customs facilitation to Hajis was provided at the Islamabad airport. Earlier, a Haji (pilgrim) had to wait four to five hours to clear their customs and immigration services at the Jeddah airport.
The ministry also introduced E-Visa facility for pilgrims for the first time. The process for Hajj visa fixation were now performed electronically in the ministry. Earlier all passports were sent to the embassy of Kingdom of Saudia Arabia for fixing Hajj visa.
The ministry also introduced direct Hajj flights from Quetta Airport to Jeddah/Madina. Earlier the Hujjaj of Balochistan had to take connecting flights from Quetta to Jeddah/Madina.
Likewise, the Directorate of Hajj had also been established (on temporary basis) for facilitation of Hujjaj of Gilgit- Baltistan. Earlier the services Gilgit-Baltistan pilgrims were provided at Haji Camp, Islamabad.
For the first time mobile bio-metric verification services were also provided to Hujjaj of far-flung areas of country such as Qila Saifullah, Skardu, Muzaffarabad, Bahawalpur, Nawabshah, Mianwali, Chitral, Upper Dir, Mardan and Larkana.
Special transport facility was also provided to physically disable and handicap Hujjaj for the first time.
The luxury Salawat transport was provided to pilgrims at Haram Shareef. The pilgrims were provided cooked meal thrice a day with improved menu.
This year each government scheme Haji had been refunded from Rs 26,000 to Rs 67,000 before their departure to Jeddah/Madina for Hajj.
Meanwhile, the government appointed the chairman of Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) on merit. This appointment in the past was made on political basis.
The ministry played an active role in opening/establishment of Krtarpur Corridor.