The National Assembly was informed today (Friday) that the Ministry of Religious Affairs has proposed to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to reduce fares for Hajj pilgrims by 40 percent, the Radio Pakistan reported.
During the question hour, Minister of State for Religious Affairs Pir Aminul Hasnat Shah told the House that government will announce the fare after receiving a reply from PIA.
The Minister said appropriate accommodation and transportation arrangements have been made for pilgrims in Makka and Madina.
The pilgrimage requires money, physical perseverance and a coveted hajj visa. Saudi Arabia has strict quotas for each country to manage crowd safety.
This year, 2 million to 3 million pilgrims are expected pack shoulder to shoulder in prayer in a valley called Arafat. That is the site where the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) delivered his final sermon 1,400 years ago, calling for equality and unity among Muslims.
Islam requires all able-bodied Muslims to perform the hajj at least once. The pilgrimage is among the five main pillars of Islam, which also include belief in the oneness of Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as his final messenger, five daily prayers facing toward the Kaaba, annual charity and fasting during the month of Ramadan.
They sell their meager belongings, they borrow money from family and friends to buy work visas and airline fares, they are either illiterate or semi-literate, they are mostly unskilled souls from long suffering and very poor families. When they start work in Arab sheikdoms, despite being Muslims, they are treated as if they are sub-humans. These resolute and hardy souls, despite all the poverty and hardship inflicted upon them by nature, work hard like slaves and send billions of dollars to Pakistan; with out this money the country could not survive. IF ANY ONE DESERVES LOW PIA FARES, IT IS THESE VERY PEOPLE, PAKISTAN'S SURVIVAL DEPENDS UPON THEM, THEY ARE YOUR MOST VALUABLE FINANCIAL ASSET. SADLY NO MINISTRY SPEAKS FOR THEM.
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