Islamabad (Staff Report/Agencies): Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on Wednesday declared that the government could subsidize the sacred religious ceremony of Hajj in any shape without any discrimination.
CII Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz, talking to the media after the conclusion of the two-day meeting of the council’s 214th sitting, said the council was of the view that there was no harm in facilitating the Hujjaj, Radio Pakistan reported.
The Bill was forwarded by Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony for the council’s opinion on the issue.
The subsidy could be offered in transport fares, food, accommodations. Non-Muslim countries also facilitate the Hajj journey of their Muslim citizens, he added.
However, he said that the Hajj subsidy could not be paid from Zakat accounts.
The PML-N government had sanctioned subsidy of Rs45,000 for each pilgrim during its last tenure but now the PTI government is mulling over to formulate new Hajj policy for the next five years.
On January 26, the Hajj Policy 2019 proposed an increase of Rs156,975, driving up Hajj expenses of pilgrims from the north and south regions by 56 per cent and 58 per cent respectively.
The Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony was informed that Hajj expenses were increased due to exchange rates and higher airfare.
The committee called for monitoring of private Hajj tour operators and stressed the need for reduction of airfares to enable pilgrims to perform Hajj and Umrah.