LAHORE - The business community has suggested the government to facilitate small traders and general public by increasing size of the government Haj quota from the present level of 56,000, reducing the volume of private Haj quota drastically, as they are charging almost double from the intending pilgrims.

The government is presently charging about 300,000 for Haj while private Hajj operators demanding in the range of Rs600,000 to Rs2.5 million in different packages which is not affordable for small traders or a poor man.

All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran general secretary Naeem Mir said that a large number of complaints by the traders have been lodged against the Haj office of ministry of religious affairs, who are not accepting their applications without gratification or commission.

He criticized the government for not implementing court orders which lamented that the government did not make a single policy protecting public welfare, terming the Haj Policy 2014 unfair, which has allocated additional quota for private tour operators. A small trader of embroidery business Chaudhry Muhammad Arshad asked the government to cancel the quota of private operators and accommodate all intending pilgrims from government Haj Scheme.

Criticizing the current Hajj scheme of ‘First come first served bases’, he said that the Ministry has adopted the method of pick and chose.

“I, along with my family applied for Hajj Scheme 2014 vide application nos.101617, 101618 & 101619 and deposited Haj dues with Habib Bank at 08.46am on 21st April 2014.The bank on receipt of applications transmitted data to Ministry of Religious Affairs.”

He said that ministry has declared us unsuccessful on the pretext that applications have been received before bank hours. It is pertinent to mention here that at 08.46 the data of 32000 applicants could be seen on Ministry’s data base.

He wanted to complain against the ministry’s unfair attitude but no body is ready to listen his grievances. Email of PM is overloaded for the last three days and other government ministries have no complaint option, which is indeed irony, he added.