Islamabad  - The Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Inter Faith Harmony has recommended the Religious Ministry to take measures for making the pilgrimage affordable and comfortable for those people who opt for private Haj schemes.

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The Senate Committee directed that the procedure of granting Haj quota to private tour operators also be made easy so that everyone can get benefit from the private Haj scheme. The committee met on Friday under the chairmanship of Senator Hafiz Hamdullah. The committee was informed that the quota of prime minister and ministers has been abolished and a transparent mechanism has been evolved by balloting to select the prospective pilgrims.

Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf told the committee members that about 2,740 private companies had applied for Haj quota but 740 companies were granted it as it is difficult to grant quota to every company. He said in 2014 only 19 companies were granted quota that had fulfilled the set criterion.

The parliamentary panel also recommended the ministry to ensure the representation of senators in National Commission for Minorities. The Commission consists of 11 members, and of them 4 are member of national assembly.

The committee also discussed the possibility of making mandatory for the primary school children to learn the Holy Quran verbally, for class VI to X students with translation and mandatory Arabic language subject from middle to metric level. The committee members said since the subject has been devolved to the provinces, the ministry can take measure to implement the proposal at the federal level. The minister informed the committee members that in this regard a meeting has been convened with federal and provincial representatives on June 30.