KARACHI: Airfare for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims will be decreased so that people can benefit from the decrease in the petroleum prices in the international market, says Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sardar Muhammad Yousuf.Speaking at a seminar titled “Change in Life After Performing Hajj” organised by Karwaan-i-Hira on Friday night, Yousuf said the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had already cut its fares for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrims. He said the government should be providing maximum facilities to pilgrims under the new Hajj policy. He said that stakeholders would be asked to give their input to make the new Hajj policy widely acceptable.Prominent among those who attended the seminar were former federal minister for religious affairs Hanif Tayyab, Karwaan-i-Hira Chairman Naseer Ahmed Qadri, Munawar Ahmed Khan, Behrullah Hazarvi, Mansoor Ahmed Khan and Sailani Welfare International Trust Chairman Allama Bashir Farooqui.
The minister said that 2,740 companies were operating in the country as Hajj and Umrah operators and they should submit their proposals to his ministry so that the new Hajj policy could be made comprehensive enough to ensure provision of maximum facilities to pilgrims. This year, he said, more attention would be paid to pilgrims’ training and education about Hajj rules and regulations. He said that best possible arrangements were made for Hajj pilgrims in 2013, 2014 and 2015.Yousuf said that he and his ministry officials would always welcome suggestions/recommendations from the stakeholders for improvements in the Hajj policy. He said the PIA cut its fares for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims after fall of petroleum prices in the international market. He said that a policy was being made to ensure that private airlines also cut fares for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims.