Pakistan returns Hajj quota to Saudi Arabia for the first time in history
Pakistan has surrendered its Hajj quota of 800 seats to Saudi Arabia for the first time in history. The government scheme quota was returned as there were not enough applicants for the pilgrimage, which could have cost the government an additional $24 million in accommodation expenses.
The federal government had already announced that there would be no balloting for Hajj applicants due to the shortage. The country’s long-standing demand to increase the quota was not met, but it was given the full share for the pilgrimage this year.
The government had considered allocating the unused quota to private Hajj operators. However, it decided to surrender the quota due to fears that private operators might buy dollars from the open market, which could have added to the country’s economic challenges.
This move highlights the impact of inflation in the country and the government’s efforts to reduce expenses.