Pasban Democratic Party Proposes Changes to Official Hajj Policy, Seeks More Pilgrim-Friendly Measures

Karachi, Abu Bakr Usman, Director of the Public Issues Committee of the Pasban Democratic Party, has addressed a letter to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the Minister of Religious Affairs, and the Secretary of Hajj, proposing several changes to the official Hajj policy for the year 2024/4541. These proposals include adjustments to the government Hajj quota, application submission period, package options, and allowances for pilgrims.

According to PASBAN Democratic Party, which references a decision by the Sindh High Court in case number 866/2017, the Pasban Democratic Party, as an intervener in the case, advocated for maintaining the official Hajj scheme’s quota at 60%. This request was approved by Honorable Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, granting legal status to the 60% quota in the official Hajj policy. Usman suggests that this quota be implemented in the policy for the 2024/4541 Hajj.

The proposals detailed in the letter also include keeping the period for submitting Hajj applications in banks to 15 days, allowing pilgrims sufficient time to submit documents and deposit Hajj money. The party recommends allocating a shorter package base of up to 20 days, considering the constraints and costs for those unable to stay for the traditional 40-day package. The proposal suggests prioritizing applications for these short packages and providing deductions in package amounts based on savings from food and accommodation expenses.

Furthermore, the letter proposes that all applications under the sponsor scheme be approved without the need for drawing lots and calls for an exemption from the blood relationship condition for requisitioning foreign exchange under the scheme. It also suggests allowing each pilgrim to carry a 40 kg package in addition to hand-carry items and five liters of Zamzam on their return flight ticket. The tradition of providing essential items like Dari, blankets, and umbrellas during Hajj should be maintained, with each item marked with the green crescent flag and the pilgrim’s details for easy identification and recovery in case of loss.

For the private Hajj group (HGO), the Pasban Democratic Party proposes a uniform policy across Pakistan, including details on food, accommodation, gift items, hotel quality, distance from the shrine, and medical facilities. This policy aims to regulate the costs of the Hajj package by the Ministry of Hajj to prevent profiteering and exploitation of pilgrims by private Hajj group organizers.