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Government’s Hajj scheme ballot to take place on March 12

The government’s Hajj scheme ballot will be held at 4:00 PM on March 12, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Religious Affairs announced on Wednesday. The result of the ballot will be available by the end of the day.

The applicants will receive the result’s notification via SMS, the spokesperson said.

A total of 149,330 applications had already been received for performing hajj under the government’s scheme.

According to the spokesperson, 90,000 intending pilgrims will be picked via balloting for Hajj 2020.

For this year, the government Hajj package (per person) is Rs 463,445 for the north region and Rs 486,270 for the south region without Qurbani (sacrifice), and Rs 486,270 and Rs 478,520 for north and south regions respectively with Qurbani.

For the year 2020 a total of 179,210 Pakistanis will perform hajj, including 107,526 under government scheme and 71,684 under the private scheme.

As many as 500 seats have been reserved for accommodating low-paid employees of public sector/corporate organisations, companies registered with Employees Old-Age Benefit Institution (EOBI)/Workers Welfare Fund.

Likewise, 10,000 seats have been reserved for senior citizens of over 70 years age including their mahram and helper.

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The lucky ones will be picked through balloting if applications exceed the reserved quota.

The unsuccessful hajj applicants of 2017, 2018 and 2019 will be selected automatically. Yet another quota of 1,000 has been reserved for overseas Pakistanis.

The spokesperson further said that the results would be uploaded on the ministry’s website as well.

The intending pilgrims have been asked to contact 051-9216980 & 051-9216982 for guidance and information.

Meanwhile, amid coronavirus outbreak fears, Saudi Arabia has halted all international travel into the country.  Also limiting access of the locals to the Muslim holy sites in the cities of Mecca and Medina. Hajj 2020 will fall sometime in the last week of June this year, hopefully, by then the travel restrictions are likely to be relaxed.

Till yet no official statement regarding the Hajj policy in wake of coronavirus outbreak has been made.

About 12 million Muslims across the world make pilgrimages to Mecca every year.

Saman Siddiqui

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