Pakistan has made it illegal for private tour operators and individuals to accept money in advance from Hajj pilgrims.
After a two-year hiatus owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia is hosting the traditional Hajj pilgrimage for Muslims all around the world this year.
Pakistan will send 81,132 pilgrims to this year’s Hajj, with private Hajj operators receiving 60% of the quota. This year, the maximum age limit for pilgrims is 65.
Last Monday, the Pakistani government said that those interested in doing Hajj this year might apply online between May 1 and 13, with a nominal payment of Rs50,000 ($270).
“The ministry observed that some private tour operators and individuals are accepting money from customers directly or through their unrelated agents in the guise of Hajj applications, registration,” said Religious Affairs Ministry spokesperson Muhammad Umar Butt on Friday.
“This conduct is completely prohibited and punishable,” he stressed.