Only the wealthy should perform Hajj, ministers say


ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry and Minister for Religious Affairs on Friday said that only those who have resources should perform Hajj.

Their comments came following the criticism the government received for the hike in Hajj expenses and the withdrawal of subsidy on Thursday.

Taking to Twitter, Fawad said that Hajj and Zakat are “worships related to wealthier people only”. “Provision of subsidy was tantamount to receiving money for poor people to perform Hajj which already went against the basic philosophy of the worship,” he said.

Responding to a question by a Twitter user, Fawad said that the government was not earning a “single rupee as profit [through the Hajj process]”.

In another tweet, a user said that if the government was increasing expenses for Hajj this year than more facilities should be provided to the pilgrims, as in the past pilgrims received worst arrangements from the government scheme. “Prime Minister Imran Khan has given clear directions [to the authorities] for making ideal arrangements this year,” Fawad responded.

Meanwhile, Fawad Chaudhry also said that the opposition is yelling in the National Assembly (NA) just to escape from inquiries or cases. While talking to a private news channel, he said, “The opposition never raised issues of the common man while attending the assembly session.”

“The present government under the leadership of PM Khan is doing its best for a smooth flow of democratic system in the country,” he further said, adding that the new local government system would help resolve the matters of a common man besides expediting the development works.

Meanwhile, Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri said that only those people who have resources should perform Hajj.

Talking to the media, the minister said more than one 184,000 Pakistanis will go for Hajj this year. He said that Hajj expenditures increase every year due to hike in prices.

It is to be mentioned here that as per new policy, the Hajj expenses for southern areas will be Rs4,26,000 which were Rs2,70,000 last year. Besides this, Rs1,56,000 hike has been made in the Hajj expenses for people living in northern areas, taking it to a total of Rs4,36,000 from Rs2,80,000.

Criticising the government for its economic policies, Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister on Information, Law & Anti-corruption Barrister Murtaza Wahab said that the federal government is withdrawing subsidy on every subject so much so that subsidy on Hajj had also been withdrawn and this was an attempt to take revenge from the people of the country.

Talking to the media, he said that PM Khan was demonstrating a double standard in his approach as on one hand, he himself was travelling by a jet plane and on the other hand, common people were being deprived of subsidy to perform sacred religious obligation of performing Hajj.

Alluding to attitude of Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, he said that people like Fawad Chaudhry who change their political loyalties on whims have no future in politics.