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Pakistan returns 21,000 Hajj quotas to Saudi Arabia under the government scheme

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Religious Affairs will be sending back more than 21,000 Hajj slots to Saudi Arabia through the government program. Instead of assigning these slots to accommodate the 5,633 remaining pilgrims from the Hajj draw, the decision was made to return the quota.

Reportedly, rather than utilizing the slots for unsuccessful applicants in the government’s regular scheme, refunds were issued.

Sources noted that 5,633 individuals were unsuccessful in the regular Hajj scheme draw out of a total of 69,438 applicants.

According to available data, 63,805 fortunate pilgrims were selected in the draw. Additionally, only 4,000 applications were received for the 25,000 slots available in the government’s Sponsorship Hajj Scheme, leaving over 21,000 slots vacant to be returned to Saudi Arabia.

Earlier, the Ministry of Religious Affairs finalized the balloting for the 2024 Hajj applications. The event, which took place at the Karachi Press Club, was overseen by caretaker minister Aniq Ahmed.

A total of 69,438 individuals submitted applications for Hajj, and after the balloting process, the names of 63,805 people were confirmed.

The remaining 5,633 applicants have been placed on a waiting list sorted by city. These individuals may secure a slot if any of the successful candidates opt to cancel their applications.

Notification of successful applications were issued last month through SMS, the official website, and a mobile app.

Minister Ahmed disclosed that 56% of the successful candidates were women, while 44% were men. He emphasized that the balloting was conducted through a transparent process.

Furthermore, Ahmed announced that all women participating in Hajj would be provided with an abaya featuring the Pakistani flag. Additionally, each pilgrim will receive a suitcase equipped with a QR code, and a generous data allocation of 7 GBs.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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