ISLAMABAD: The designated branches of thirteen banks have started receiving Government Scheme Hajj applications from Monday (today) to choose 120,000 successful pilgrims out of a total of 179,210 Pakistani pilgrims for the upcoming Hajj 2018.
According to the new Hajj Policy announced last month, the Hajj applications would be received till January 24 and balloting would be conducted on January 26. As many as 59,210 pilgrims would perform the Hajj through the Private Hajj Scheme.
The government has retained Rs280,000 and Rs270,000 Hajj package charges for the interested pilgrims of North and South zones of the country, respectively.
The ministry has asked the intending pilgrims to contact the Hajj inquiry number 051-9205696 for any queries.
The successful pilgrims would be selected on basis of groups. A group should consist of a maximum of 14 members. Family members and close relatives could make their own groups to avoid any problem. However, in case of a single application, an individual would be considered a group, said a spokesperson from Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony.
Hajj applications would be received by Habib Bank Limited; United Bank Limited; National Bank of Pakistan; Muslim Commercial Bank; Allied Bank Limited; Agriculture Development Bank Limited; Bank of Punjab; Bank Alfalah; Meezan Bank; Habib Metropolitan Bank; Dubai Islamic Bank Limited; Faysal Bank Limited and Askari Bank Limited.
The pilgrims must write their mobile number and complete address of self or a close relative to enable the ministry to inform him/her through SMS, phone call or a letter.
Intending pilgrims should possess Computerised National Identity Cards (CNIC) of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). The validity of the Machine Readable Passports of intending pilgrims should be up to March 1, 2019. Applicants of over 80 years of age should include the name of their assistant in the group and avoid increasing the number of their group from two, the spokesperson said.
A quota of 10,000 has been allocated for applicants of over 80 years of age.
If the number of applicants exceeds the 10,000 mark, the successful would be selected through balloting; applicants who remained unsuccessful in the last consecutive three years would be selected through normal balloting. A total of 10,000 such persons would be selected through a separate balloting.
The successful pilgrims could see the status of their application on the ministry’s website, www.mora.gov.pk and www.hajjinfo.org.
He said a person who has already performed Hajj through Government Scheme has been declared non-eligible for applying for Hajj; the only exception is a Mehram accompanying a woman for Hajj.
A two per cent quota (2,400) has been reserved for hardship cases. Out of this, 500 seats would be allocated to low-income labourers whose institution has been registered with workers welfare board.