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Govt set up helpline for Hajj Scheme

18 April, 2016

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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony has set up a helpline to promptly respond to the queries of the intending pilgrims about the Government Hajj Scheme.

According to official sources in the ministry, the intending pilgrims can get quick answers to their questions about Hajj by dialling 051-9205696.

Designated branches of the eight scheduled banks — Habib Bank Limited, Muslim Commercial Bank, Meezan Bank, Bank Al-Falah, Bank of Punjab, Allied Bank, United Bank Limited and the National Bank of Pakistan — are set to receive applications from the people who want to go to Hajj under the government scheme from today (April 18).

The ministry has asked the intending pilgrims to mention their mobile numbers and complete residential addresses on their Hajj forms to enable the ministry to intimate them through SMS, telephone call or letter in case their names are chosen in the balloting scheduled on April 29. The successful applicants could also see the status of their applications on ministry’s website www.mora.gov.pk or www.hajjinfo.org. At least 83,440 people would go to Hajj this year from Pakistan under the Government Hajj Scheme.

The banks may receive applications from groups of up to 14 people each through group leaders. The group leader would be responsible for leading and facilitating his group members as per instructions issued by the ministry. This year the successful pilgrims would be chosen on the basis of groups through balloting.

The basic aim of forming Hajj groups is to make coordinated arrangements for pilgrims’ training, travel and accommodation in Makkah and Madina.

A group could have the strength of 14 persons. Family persons or close relatives are permitted to form a group. This will help them live and travel together in Saudi Arabia. However, a person who applies individually will also be considered a group. All members of a group will have the same application number, travel plan and sect and they will submit their Hajj applications to the same branch of the bank. The ministry will not be responsible for any inconvenience caused by a mistake.

The name of the group leader and his deputy should be mentioned on each Hajj form. A woman and her mahram (a family member whom she cannot marry under the Islamic Sharia) should be in the same group. Feeble and aged pilgrims should have a person to help them during their stay in Saudi Arabia.

Any person who performed Hajj in the last five years will not be eligible for Hajj 2016, barring few exceptions such as a person going to Hajj with a woman as her mahram.

The applicants must have machine readable passports valid up to March 10, 2017 to avoid any inconvenience, said the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony.

According to the Hajj Policy 2016, the applicants not having valid machine-readable passports would not be chosen for Hajj this year. The applicants must also have computerised national identity cards and medical certificates.

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