The Senate’s Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony was informed on Friday that the designated branches of scheduled banks were expected to start receiving Haj applications under the government scheme from Monday (April 4).
Joint Secretary (Haj) Muhammad Farooq told the committee that the date for receiving applications might be delayed slightly as the new Haj Policy would be announced after getting approval of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
He said the application receiving process would be completed in 10 days.
According to the tentative schedule, the applications would be received till April 14 while the ballot would be held on April 16 or 17 to select the successful applicants, the upper house was told.
Farooq said this year 143,348 Pakistanis would perform Haj, including 86,021 through the government and 57,347 through private schemes. The Haj quota allotted to Pakistan by Saudi Arabia was divided at the ratio of 60:40 between government and private schemes respectively.
According to draft Haj policy, he said, 5 per cent (4,301) of Government Scheme quota had been reserved to accommodate hardship cases.
The Haj dues of the applicants would be deposited in interest free accounts, he added.
The committee was told that the government Haj package had not been enhanced as compared to the last year.
The intending pilgrims from southern part would pay Rs 261,941 and while those from northern part would pay Rs271,941.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had agreed to decrease the fare from Rs 113,000 to Rs 95,000. Committee chairman Hafiz Hamdullah directed the ministry to submit a detailed report about the expenditures incurred by its various wings from 2012 to 2015.