ISLAMABAD - JAVAID-UR-RAHMAN  - The PPP government in its last Haj policy-2013 of present tenure announced around Rs 63,000 increase in total expenditure of Haj as compared to previous year, while the Haj quota will remain will remain 179,210.

“Applications for Haj-2013 under Government Haj Scheme will be received on the principle of “first come, first serve” basis and increase in expenditure is due to rate of dollar,” said Minister of Religious Affairs Khurshid Shah, addressing a press conference. He was accompanied by Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira.

The first Haj flight will leave from Pakistan from September and this year number of Haj quota (179,210) has not been changed as per decision, Khursheed Shah, responding a question. He said the Haj quota will be implemented through government scheme and private Hajj Group Organizers (HGOs) in the ratio of 50percent each.

Sharing the details, he said any person who has performed Hajj during the last five years will not be eligible to perform Hajj in 2013 except Mehram, Group Leader or the one undertaking Haj-e-badal. The applications under Government scheme will be invited through designated banks after the approval of Hajj Policy-2013, he added.

He informed the media three categories of accommodation including Blue category within 900 meters without transport with a rental ceiling of Saudi Riyals (SR) 8000 per pilgrim, Green Category within 2000 meters with transport with a rental ceiling of SR. 6000 per pilgrim and White Category beyond 2000 meters with transport with a rental ceiling of SR 3800 per pilgrim have been proposed.

According to the net difference of Hajj dues -Hajj 2012-13 , in Blue category the air free 12500, compulsory Hajj Dues 7645 , Qurbani coupan 13,500, Service charges 700, Terminal tax 250, Accommodation in Madina 2500, Accommodation in Makkah 52,500.

In Green category, the air free 12500, compulsory Hajj Dues 7645, Qurbani coupan 13500, Service charges 700, Terminal tax 250, accommodation in Madina 2500

Accommodation in Makkah 55,500. In White category, the air free 12500, compulsory Haj dues 7645, Qurbani coupan 13500,Service charges 700, Terminal tax 250 ,Accommodation in Madina 2500, Accommodation in Makkah 24,000.

When asked who will take responsibility as assemblies will dissolve till 16 March, Khursheed Shah said incumbent government has taken all the measures to avoid any problem.

The minister said the rent in Makkah Mukarramah will be charged on actual basis while in case of Madinah Munawwarah, it will be charged at a flat rate of SR 500 per pilgrim.

Khurshid Shah said 05 percent of the total seats under government scheme will be reserved for hardship cases and for pilgrims recommended and funded by charitable institutions, Labour/low paid Employees of different  public sector organisations/ corporate entities under the concept of corporate social responsibility.

He said that according to agreement with Moassassah South Asia, hujjaj of Government Scheme will use train facility in Mashair and  Saudi Riyal 450 will be paid by the intending pilgrims under compulsory hajj dues for qurbani to be arranged through Islamic Development Bank. “Every haji will have to arrange and carry at least SR 1000 for their food and daily expenses while proceeding on sacred journey, “he said.

The minister said Hujjaj will be airlifted equally 50 percent from both the Pakistani and Saudi Arabian airlines as per Air Service Agreement (ASA) between Government of Pakistan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and 30,000 to 40,000 hujjaj will be transported directly to Madina from Pakistan.

Shah said MOU for airfare   Rs 87,500 for South region and Rs. 97,500 for north region has been sent to MD,PIAC for signatures. However, it is proposed that Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) may be directed to waive-off the additional charges of handling Hujjaj of Hajj-2013.

He said that Hajj Medical Mission comprising 540 personnel, 230 Mouvineen e Hujjaj, 270 seasonal duty staff and 900 Local Mouvineen e Hujjaj in KSA will be deputed subject to availability of resources and as per requirement of Pakistan Hajj Mission/ MoRA.

To a question, he said that warning has been issued to tour operators to avoid misleading with pilgrims.

To a question about mismanagement in 2010 Haj, he said the Hujjaj mainly suffered at ‘Manah’ due to mismanagement. “We have now taken steps to control this management at maximum level,” he added.