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Only 3,000 Hajj applications so far received under govt scheme.

ISLAMABAD, July 07, 2009 (Balochistan Times) -- The banks have so far received about 3,000 applications from the intending pilgrims against quota of 80,000 reserved for Hajj under government scheme. A few days are still remaining in the cut off date, hence, the required number of people will be able to submit applications before the last date which is July 11, Federal Secretary, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Agha Muhammad Qazalbash said in an interview with reporter. About delay in issuance of passports to the intending pilgrims, he advised them to submit their applications in the banks as early as possible and assured to get resolved the matter of delay in issuance of passports by the concerned department. I am in contact with the Chairman NADRA and Director General of the Passport and Immigration Department and assured to resolve this issue immediately, he added. The Secretary informed that about 70 percent buildings have been acquired for accommodation of Pakistani pilgrims in Makkah and Madinah during the forthcoming Hajj. Last year, about 220 buildings were hired but this time it has been decided not to obtain more than 200 buildings, he added. He said no building having capacity of accommodating less than 200 pilgrims will be hired. He opined that it will help us to facilitate the intending pilgrims during their stay in the Holy Land. Agha Qazalbash said that 611 Hajj Group Organizers have been selected to send intending pilgrims for Hajj under private scheme. He assured that strict monitoring will be carried out during next Hajj and complaints against the Hajj Group Organizers will be redressed at the spot. Agha Qazalbash informed that Hajj Group Organizers have submitted forms under A, B, C, D categories and added, their selection was made strictly on merit. He said it is our national and moral obligation to make the Hajj process transparent, adding, We are taking along vision of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and we are committed to bring transparency in the Hajj operation. The Secretary said Hajj policy for the forthcoming Hajj has been formulated on scientific basis in which all the discretionary powers and quota have been removed. To a question about monitoring Hajj arrangements, he said eight teams have been constituted to monitor the arrangements in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah. Replying a question about Umra scandal, he said the Director General Hajj, Jeddah has been directed to contact the affected people and they will be provided all possible assistance through Pakistan House, Makkah. He said that action has been taken against four officials deployed at Pakistan House Makkah who were involved in corruption. From onward now, only educated persons living in Saudi Arabia will be recruited through Pakistan Mission.

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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:Jul 7, 2009
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