ISLAMABAD – Saudi Arabia has once again rejected Pakistan’s request to increase its Hajj quota for 2017 season.

Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Muhammad Yusuf had asked Saudi Hajj Ministry last week for an increase in Hajj quota from the current 179,210 to 194,210.

Pakistan has pleaded for an increase in its Hajj quota as the former’s new population figures following the ongoing census in the country are expected to show a dramatic increase, reported a private TV channel on Friday.

However, Saudi Hajj Ministry while rejecting application took the plea that census in Pakistan is now underway and is not completed yet, therefore, it is difficult to evaluate how much population has increased in Pakistan. The increase in the Hajj quote can be considered after completion of the census.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia had inked an agreement whereby Pakistan’s quota rose from 143,368 to 179,210.

The ministers of the two countries also discussed Hajj arrangements and ways to improve them.

The Saudi minister guaranteed that the arrangements would be far better this time in comparison with previous years.

He added that concrete steps were being taken to provide the best possible services and facilities to pilgrims.-Online