Govt okays 50 percent quota for Hajj under sponsorship scheme

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ISLAMABAD – The federal government decided on Monday to increase the quota for overseas Pakistani nationals to sponsor Hajj from 25% to 50% for this year’s Hajj.

The decision was made in the backdrop of depleting foreign exchange reserves as overseas nationals would pay in US dollars to avail the quota; previously, the quota for sponsorship scheme was 25 percent.The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) approved outsourcing the Pakistani Hajj quota to its citizens living abroad or allowing local Pakistanis to arrange money from abroad. The Hajj expense has been increased by 68 percent as compared to 2022 and under the government scheme,  Rs1.175 million per pilgrimage would be the cost. A whopping increase of Rs 475,000 for this year’s Hajj per pilgrim is being seen. 

The total foreign currency requirements for 2023 Hajj were $534 million; however, the ECC after discussion approved Hajj-2023 policy and agreed to provide foreign exchange cover of $90 million. The outsourcing of financing of Hajj quota would contribute $444 million.The total number of pilgrims this year would be 179,210 equally distributed between the government and private Hajj schemes. About 89,605 non-resident persons would either perform Hajj on Pakistani quota or will send money to locals to finance their Hajj.Under the sponsorship scheme, the applicants would have to deposit their Hajj dues in foreign exchange remitted from abroad and will not be allowed to deposit the Hajj dues from foreign currency accounts in Pakistan. The sponsorship scheme of the government Hajj quota will be offered on a first come first serve basis.

Another important aspect is that the intending pilgrims who have performed Hajj within the last five Hajj years from 2016 to 2022, will be ineligible for this Hajj; however, exception to this bar exists for those applying under the sponsorship scheme.

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