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Hajj 2024: Accommodation crisis feared as tour operators fail to acquire space

05:54 PM | 14 May, 2024
Hajj 2024: Accommodation crisis feared as tour operators fail to acquire space

RIYADH - Pakistani pilgrims traveling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj might be facing a severe accommodation crisis as tour organizers are unable to acquire adequate space.

The crisis pertains to acquiring housing facilities at designated zones at Mina and Arafat for the upcoming Hajj scheduled in June.

The crisis was confirmed by Muhammad Nadeem Sharif, the former chairman of the Travel Agents Association of Pakistan and the Hajj Organizers Association of Pakistan.

"The Hajj season is approaching, but we have still not been able to secure space for our pilgrims," Sharif was quoted as saying by Express Tribune. 

Affirming that the crisis needs the government's attention, the expert said a large number of private Hajj organizers from Pakistan are currently present in Saudi Arabia to arrange accommodation for pilgrims but are facing the challenge of acquiring proper space.

"Saudi tour companies claim to be awaiting confirmation of availability from the Saudi authorities. But in the event of unavailability, they will have no option but to return the funds received from Pakistani Hajj organizers, creating an extraordinary crisis for us and the pilgrims," Sharif cautioned.

The tour operator stressed the necessity to make every possible effort to facilitate Muslims eager to fulfill their religious duty. 

Sharif also called on the Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Chaudhry Salik Hussain to prioritize the urgent resolution of the issue in the backdrop of time constraints. 

He also appealed to the Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malki, to help resolve the issue diplomatically so that the pilgrims could be served properly to perform their religious duty with fervor and reverence. 

It bears mentioning that the total number of seats allocated to Pakistan for the upcoming Hajj is around 180,000 but these include the seats allocated to the private Hajj operators also.

The authorities have introduced the Short Hajj package for the pilgrims while the Sponsorship Scheme is also valid for this year as well.

As far as the Long Hajj is concerned, it would encompass 38-42 days with 8 days stay in Medinah and those flying from the South region i.e. Karachi, and Sukkhur would have to pay Rs 10,65,000 while those from other cities i.e. Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Sialkot, Faisalabad would pay Rs 10,75,000.

For Sponsorship scheme applicants, the cost is $3765 for the South Region while it is $ 3800 for the North Region for those opting for the Long Hajj package.

For the Short Hajj package, the cost for regular Hajj applicants is Rs 11,40,000 for the South region while the cost is Rs 11,50,000 for the North region; the Hajj would continue for 20-25 days under this scheme.

For the Sponsorship Scheme, the cost for Short Hajj is $ 4015 USD for the South region and $ 4050 for North region. 

Daily Pakistan Global Web Desk

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Pakistani Rupee exchange rate to US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 28 May 2024

Pakistani currency rates against US Dollar and other currencies on May 28, 2024 (Tuesday) in open market.

USD to PKR rate today

US dollar was being quoted at 277.4 for buying and 280.25 for selling.

Euro stands at 298 for buying and 301 for selling while British Pound rate is 349.5 for buying, and 353 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.25 and Saudi Riyal increased to 73.45.

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 08:00 AM)

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.4 280.25
Euro EUR 298 301
UK Pound Sterling GBP 349.5 353
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.25 75.9
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.45 74.2
Australian Dollar AUD 183 184.8
Bahrain Dinar BHD 740.03 748.03
Canadian Dollar CAD 203 205
China Yuan CNY 38.42 38.82
Danish Krone DKK 40.44 40.84
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.62 35.97
Indian Rupee INR 3.35 3.46
Japanese Yen JPY 1.91 1.99
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 904.07 913.07
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 59.05 59.65
New Zealand Dollar NZD 170.03 172.03
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.92 26.22
Omani Riyal OMR 723.64 731.64
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.42 77.12
Singapore Dollar SGD 203 205
Swedish Korona SEK 26.02 26.32
Swiss Franc CHF 304.75 307.25
Thai Bhat THB 7.6 7.75

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