Yousaf expresses satisfaction over smooth conduct of Hajj-2017

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Mohammad Yousaf Tuesday expressed satisfaction over smooth conduct of the Hajj operation 2017.

Chairing a briefing session here on completion of the Hajj-2017, he said there was always room for improvement and vowed to extend maximum facilities to Hujjaj (pilgrims) next year. “Hajj arrangements remained exemplary during the last four years.”

The minister said the government Hajj scheme was meant for the low-income group so that they could perform the religious obligation with reduced expenses.

He said a draft of Hajj and Umrah (Service Management) Bill-2017 would be tabled in the National Assembly soon with an aim to streamline the matters related to Umrah.

Director General (Hajj) Jeddah Dr Sajid Yousafani briefed the meeting that Pakistan’s Hajj package, under the government scheme, was the best in the world despite increased rates of accommodation in Madina Munawara and other facilities during Hajj days.

Last year, he said, under the government scheme as many as 71,684 Pakistanis had performed the religious obligation, while this year the number had increased to 171,526 after restoration of the Hajj quota. Some 100,000 Pakistanis Hujjaj were provided accommodation in Markazia in Madina Munawara, besides the latest model buses were hired for transportation of the pilgrims, he added.

He said three-time meal was provided to Hujjaj for 40 days for which 12 food catering companies were awarded contracts in Makkah and 10 in Madina.

The DG Hajj said 564 doctors and medical staff were deployed in Makkah and Madina to provide medical facilities to the Pakistani Hujjaj. The medical teams provided treatment to over 300,000 Hujjaj during two and a half months, he added.

Among others, the briefing session was attended by Secretary Religious Affairs Khalid Masood Chaudhry, Additional Secretary Capt (Retd.) Mohammad Aftab, senior joint secretaries Mohammad Ashraf and Ilyas Khan, Joint Secretary (Hajj) Tahir Ehsan, Additional IG Police Ashraf Zubair and other senior officers.