Haj ballot likely to be held on 20th
* About 150,000 Pakistanis expected to perform Haj in 2005
ISLAMABAD: The Haj ballot selecting 100,000 Pakistanis to perform Haj in 2005 is likely to be held on September 20. The ballot will be a part of the Pakistan government’s scheme for Haj 2005.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs has received more than 130,000 applications under the government scheme and about 50,000 under private schemes, an official said on Friday.
All arrangements, including detailed records of applicants, have been completed to ensure fair and transparent balloting. The names of the successful applicants will be published on a website after the ballot. Under the new Haj policy announced for the next five years, about 150,000 Pakistanis will perform Haj in 2005, sources said.
The list of Haj Group Organisers has been submitted to the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Saudi Consulates to enable them to apply for multiple entry visas for Saudi Arabia, sources said. The organisers are not allowed to apply for a visa to perform an Umra while they arrange private or hotel accommodation for their clients in Saudi Arabia.
Under the government scheme, the government will arrange for passports, visas, flights, accommodation and transport of pilgrims. Other groups like the Haj Service Agents and Haj Group Organisers have been registered with the ministry for religious affairs and will be responsible for all arrangements under the private scheme. However, the ministry will arrange for the passports of pilgrims who apply under the private scheme, ministry officials said.
Elderly pilgrims will be sent first and will be accommodated in buildings near the Harmain-e-Sharifain. This year the residential accommodation for the pilgrims has been divided into two categories, green and yellow. The green accommodation is 800 meters from the Haram while yellow accommodation is 1300 meters from the Haram, officials said.
Special flights will fly pilgrims from Multan, Faisalabad and Sukkur to Karachi from where they will continue their journey to Jeddah. The pilgrims will stay in Saudi Arabia for 40 days. app