Pakistan sees less number of Hajj applicants amid coronavirus fears

Thursday, March 12, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The religious affairs ministry on Thursday announced the names of successful intending pilgrims who will travel to the holy land later this year to perform the sacred religious obligation under the Government Hajj Scheme 2020.

The Hajj balloting this year saw lesser number applications than the year before apparently because of the fears over coronavirus. However, the Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri played down any such apprehensions.

A total of 86,765 intending pilgrims were picked through general balloting out of 149,295 applicants. Last year, the ministry had received 216,623 applications from across the country, while total quota of Pakistani pilgrims was 184,210.

This year, a total 179,210 Pakistanis will perform Hajj, including 107,526 under the government scheme and 71,684 under private scheme. Under the government scheme, 86,765 were selected through the ballot, while 18,648 was declared successful without balloting.

A total of 10,000 spaces were allotted to the aspiring pilgrims, who are 70-year-old or above. A total of 12,840 applications were received from 70-plus aspirants. The remaining 2,840 has been included in general balloting.

Those selected without balloting included 7,648 people who failed on three previous occasions. Also a quota of 1,000 had been allocated to the overseas Pakistanis. There have been 1,286 applications from overseas Pakistanis – 286 applications given a chance at the general draw.

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Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri announced the results of the Hajj ballot. Speaking on the occasion, he said that the applicants were being informed about their success or failure via SMS, while the ballot results would be uploaded on the ministry’s website:; and

About coronavirus, he urged people not to spread rumours. “We all have faith that there will be no epidemic in holy cities of Makkah and Medina,” he said. “We are in touch with the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and they have assured that they would take us into confidence before making any decision”.

Responding to a question, the minister said Saudi authorities had already been requested to include Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta in Road to Makkah Project for conducting immigration in these airports thus saving them from standing in long queues at Saudi airports.

The balloting was conducted on the basis of groups, containing one to 14 individuals. As many as 53,429 groups were declared successful. The selection of group leader means the selection of entire group and vice versa.

The successful applicants are required to submit medical certificate to their relevant bank branches by March 19.

The date and time of biometric from Etimad Centres will be announced soon. The unsuccessful applicants could get their money back from their relevant bank branch from Friday.