Govt to start refunding Hajj dues from July 2

The prayer halls can now accommodate up to 300,000 worshipers. Source: Arab News. 
ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to refund dues to all Hajj applicants from Thursday 2nd July after the annual pilgrimage was limited this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a spokesperson of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the decision has been taken in light of the steps taken by the government of Saudi Arabia to limit the Hajj this year among those already living in the Kingdom and bar all foreign visitors.
He said the amount will be refunded through scheduled banks across the country and all applicants are being informed via SMS. All applicants should come in person to receive the amount in cash while group leaders should come to the bank with all original documents of group members in case of receiving payment through cheque.

READ MORE: WHO chief lauds Saudi Arabia’s decision to host limited Hajj

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Religious Affairs held an emergency meeting to return the amount deposited by the successful applicants under the government’s Hajj scheme for this year.
A statement issued by the religious affairs minister said the emergency meeting was called to discuss the mechanism for the return of payments to those who had registered themselves for Hajj.
Saudi Minister for Hajj and Umrah Dr Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten had telephoned his Pakistani counterpart, Pir Noorul Haq Qadri to inform him about the Kingdom’s decision to hold Hajj with a very limited number of pilgrims.
The Saudi government announced that it would bar arrivals from abroad for the Hajj. Pakistani envoy, diplomatic officials and the Pakistan Hajj Directorate in the kingdom would represent the country this year.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia limits numbers of Hajj pilgrimage this year

Before the emergence of COVID-19, a total of 179,210 Pakistanis had registered themselves to perform Hajj this year. This included 107,526 intending pilgrims under the government scheme and 71,684 under the private scheme.
Saudi Arabia had a restricted number of Hajj pilgrims to 1,000 amid coronavirus outbreak. As per details, only Saudi nationals and expatriates of various nationalities will be allowed to perform Haj this year, which is scheduled to be held in late July this year.
Older pilgrims are not allowed to join the rituals due to avoid overcrowding in order to ensure the safety of pilgrims. The kingdom asked Hajj applicants in March defer preparations and had suspended Umrah until further notice.
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