• 11 April 2023
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Hajj 2023: A Surprise Announcement by the Government of Pakistan

Hajj 2023: A Surprise Announcement by the Government of Pakistan

Hajj is a sacred duty for every Muslim who has the physical and financial ability to perform it at least once in their life. It is one of the five pillars of Islam and a spiritual journey to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where Muslims from all over the world gather to worship Allah.

Pakistan is among the countries that send a large number of pilgrims to Hajj every year. The government of Pakistan arranges Hajj under its official scheme for the ease and comfort of the intended pilgrims. The government also offers a certain quota of seats for Hajj under the sponsorship scheme, which is for those who can pay extra fees for better facilities and services.

However, due to the limited number of seats available under both schemes, the government has to conduct a balloting process to select the names of the successful applicants who will be able to perform Hajj. The balloting process is done through a computerized system that randomly chooses the names of the applicants from a pool of eligible candidates.

The balloting process for Hajj 2023 was supposed to take place on Wednesday, April 5th, 2023, but it was postponed by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony. The reason for the postponement was that the government decided to extend the deadline for receiving applications under both schemes till Sunday, April 9th, 2023.

The extension was made in view of the difficulties faced by overseas Pakistanis in sending their remittances and by local applicants in submitting their applications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry also said that the new date for balloting will be announced later.

However, on Thursday, April 6th, 2023, the government made a surprising announcement that there will be no balloting for Hajj this year.

They said that the government has decided to accept all applications under the government scheme without balloting as the number of applications received was far less than the seats available. They said that only 72,869 applications were received against a quota of 44,190 seats under the government scheme.

Additionally, they claimed that although the government had allocated about 45,000 seats for the sponsorship program, only about 6,000 applications had been received, leaving about 10,000 seats open. According to them, the government would attempt to fill these open positions by seeking additional applications from qualified people.

They said that this decision was made on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who wanted to facilitate all intending pilgrims who wish to perform Hajj this year. They said that the government will provide all possible facilities and support to the pilgrims, including extra foreign exchange reserves with the help of the State Bank of Pakistan.

They also asked the intending pilgrims to pray for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan and for peace and harmony in the Muslim world. They said that performing Hajj is a great blessing and honor for every Muslim and they hoped that Allah would accept their prayers and sacrifices.

 

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