In a recent press conference following the Hajj pilgrimage, Talha Mehmood, the Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, shared significant updates regarding Pakistan’s Hajj quota and expenses.
Minister Mehmood announced with great joy that Pakistan’s Hajj quota has been increased to over 179,000 pilgrims. The catch, however, was that starting next year, Hajj expenses will have to be paid in US dollars, which will likely increase the overall cost of performing the holy pilgrimage.
During the conference, the minister extended heartfelt congratulations to the 160,000 Pakistani pilgrims who successfully completed their Hajj journey. He also praised the efforts of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and expressed his satisfaction that the 2023 Hajj pilgrimage in Jamarat went smoothly without any incidents.
Expressing deep appreciation for the Saudi government’s exceptional arrangements, Minister Mehmood personally visited the hotels where Pakistani Hajj pilgrims were accommodated. He highlighted the invaluable assistance provided by the Pakistani mission, emphasizing the government’s commitment to ensuring a comfortable and hassle-free experience for all Pakistani pilgrims.
The minister also revealed that he had been invited to perform Hajj as a state guest but he chose to experience it as an ordinary person. During his visit, he had discussions with the Saudi minister regarding the challenges faced by Hajj pilgrims, and he received assurances that these issues would be addressed in the future.
Minister Mehmood reiterated his unwavering policy of not allowing anyone to perform Hajj for free, reaffirming that this principle would continue. He proudly mentioned covering his own Hajj expenses as a minister and even accompanying other Pakistani pilgrims during the sacred journey, underscoring his commitment to being with them every step of the way.
These announcements by Minister Mehmood bring positive changes and improvements to Pakistan’s Hajj experience, providing pilgrims with increased opportunities and a more convenient payment system. The government’s dedication to ensuring a safe and comfortable Hajj journey reflects its commitment to serving the needs of Pakistani pilgrims.