LAHORE - Spokesman for the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony on Friday said that Hajj quota of Pakistan for Hajj 2014 had been fixed as 143,368, which was equally distributed between the government and private schemes.

“A quota of 15,000 hajis was to be additionally provided to enrolled quota holders under an agreement signed between the government and Hajj tour operators last year when this number was shifted from the private scheme to the government scheme to accommodate the pilgrims who had submitted applications to perform Hajj under the government scheme much before the curtailment of quota of Pakistan by the Saudi authorities by 20% in view of the ongoing expansion plan of Haram Sharif,” the spokesman explained.

“The private quota is allocated in a transparent manner on merit and not even a single tour operator has been allocated any quota in addition to the already approved. As far as record of this ministry is concerned, all the registered tour operators are enlisted with Security Exchange of Pakistan under Companies Act and are running their businesses in accordance with the existing rules and procedure. No one is provided any form meant for the government scheme for its conversion into private hajj scheme,” he claimed.

The spokesman further said the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, being the organiser of Hajj operation, monitors the performance of tour operators through a comprehensive mechanism and any irregularity, negligence and violation of any clause of service provider agreement committed by a tour operator is investigated and action taken in accordance with the Hajj policy, he concluded.