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Parents to pay up to Rs11,190 for infants under govt Haj scheme

Parents to pay up to Rs11,190 for infants under govt Haj scheme

ISLAMABAD: Pilgrims will pay between Rs10,290 and Rs11,190 for infants accompanying them during Haj this year under the government scheme.

According to sources in the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, parents travelling from the southern region will pay Rs10,290 for each infant and those travelling from the northern region will pay Rs11,190.

The charges are applicable to children born after Nov 29, 2014. Those born before will pay normal Haj dues.

The breakdown of charges includes Rs8,600 as airfare for southern region and Rs9,500 for the northern region, Rs500 towards the Hujjaj Mohafiz Fund and Rs900 as vaccination charges. Zamzam charges for both regions will be Rs290.

The ministry said that aspiring pilgrims must have international machine readable passports valid up to March 10, 2017. Applicants must also have a computerised national identity card and medical certificate.

The ministry directed the Haj Group Organisers (HGOs) to deposit five per cent of each private package as a performance guarantee for ensuring the provision of agreed facilities. Individual agreements with pilgrims should be approved by the ministry.

The guarantee money will be refunded to HGOs on satisfactory performance if no complaint is received against them.

Each HGO shall sign a service provider agreement with the ministry for planning, management and arrangements of Haj 2016. The ministry will act as the sole arbitrator and its decision will be deemed final. The ministry warned that a heavy fine would be imposed and a five-year or permanent ban would be placed on the HGOs for violation of the agreed facilities.

Hardship quota

The ministry decreased the hardship quota from five to three per cent in the Haj policy 2016, with an aim to accommodate the maximum number of pilgrims in the balloting.

According to a ministry official, 143,368 people will perform Haj this year, including 86,021 under the government scheme and 57,347 under the private scheme. A total of 2,581 intending pilgrims will be adjusted under the hardship quota this year, while 83,440 will be selected through balloting on April 29.

He explained that employees of corporate entities, public sector organisations, low-paid employees or broken families, including a child, or newly-born infant whose parents are going for Haj and intend to carry their children with them are adjusted under the hardship quota.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2016

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