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Govt Extends Hajj Application Deadline by a Week

In response to an unexpectedly lackluster turnout in applications for the Hajj pilgrimage under the sponsorship scheme, the federal government has taken the unprecedented step of extending the application deadline by an additional week. The decision comes on the heels of disturbing statistics revealing a mere 3,161 applicants who have thus far stepped forward to partake in the forthcoming Hajj under the government’s sponsorship scheme.

Reports from a local media outlet shed light on the concerning trend, highlighting the stark disparity between the allotted slots and the number of applications received. Despite a prior announcement extending the application window by ten days, a substantial number of slots remain unfilled under the government’s conventional Hajj scheme.

Sources have indicated that a meager 63,000 applications have been recorded to date, a far cry from the anticipated response. This discrepancy is particularly alarming considering the Ministry of Religious Affairs’ allocation of a 25,000 quota specifically designated for the sponsorship scheme, offering overseas Pakistanis the opportunity to either apply for Hajj or sponsor individuals in Pakistan for the pilgrimage by paying in US dollars.

The unexpectedly low turnout in applications has sounded alarm bells within the government corridors. Previously, the Ministry of Religious Affairs had implemented several measures aimed at bolstering interest in this year’s Hajj pilgrimage. These included significant reductions in Hajj-related expenses, conditional permission for women to partake in Hajj without a male guardian, and the lifting of bans for individuals who had previously completed the pilgrimage within the last five years.

Despite the implementation of these proactive measures, the government continues to grapple with generating widespread interest and meeting the predetermined quota for Hajj applications.

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