During a recent press conference following the Hajj pilgrimage, Talha Mehmood, the Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, made several significant announcements regarding Pakistan’s Hajj quota and expenses.
With great delight, he announced that Pakistan’s Hajj quota has been increased to over 179,000 pilgrims. In addition, he revealed that from the next year onwards, Hajj expenses would be collected in US dollars instead of Pakistani rupees.
Minister Mehmood took the opportunity to extend heartfelt congratulations to the 160,000 Pakistani pilgrims who successfully completed their Hajj journey. He praised the efforts of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and expressed satisfaction that the 2023 Hajj pilgrimage in Jamarat proceeded without any reported incidents. He further emphasized the overall satisfaction expressed by the majority of pilgrims regarding the arrangements.
Expressing deep appreciation, Minister Mehmood acknowledged the excellent arrangements made by the Saudi government for the Hajj event. He personally visited the hotels where Pakistani Hajj pilgrims were accommodated and highlighted the invaluable assistance provided by the Pakistani mission to its citizens during the pilgrimage. This gesture underscored the government’s commitment to ensuring a smooth and comfortable experience for all Pakistani pilgrims. During his visit, the minister shared that he had been invited to perform Hajj as a state guest but chose to experience it as an ordinary person. He also engaged in discussions with the Saudi minister to address the challenges faced by Hajj pilgrims, receiving assurances that these issues would be addressed in the future.
Minister Mehmood firmly reiterated his policy of not allowing anyone to perform Hajj for free, emphasizing that this principle will continue. He proudly mentioned that he personally covered his own Hajj expenses as a minister and even accompanied other Pakistani pilgrims during the pilgrimage, demonstrating his commitment to stand by their side throughout the sacred journey.