Saudi Arabia has granted approval to Pakistan’s request, ensuring equal quotas for all private Hajj tour operators during the upcoming pilgrimage scheduled to take place between June 26 and July 1, 2024.

Saudi Arabia has reinstated Pakistan’s pre-coronavirus Hajj quota, allowing 179,210 pilgrims, and has lifted the previous age limit of 65 years for pilgrimage.

Anticipating the participation of approximately 90,000 Pakistani pilgrims under the government scheme, an equal number will opt for private tour operators to fulfil this religious obligation.

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The revised scheme for private Hajj operators entails the formation of 180 groups, each comprising 500 people.

Each private Hajj operator is now permitted to facilitate 100 pilgrims, resulting in diverse groups of pilgrims utilising services from five different operators.

In a separate announcement, applications for Hajj 2024 under the government scheme are open from November 27 to December 12, 2023. Notably, there are no age restrictions for Hujjaj (pilgrims), and all applicants must possess a valid CNIC and a Machine-Readable Passport valid until December 16, 2024. Additionally, possessing a mandatory bank account is a prerequisite for all applicants.

Pakistan is currently in talks with airlines to lower airfares for Hajj flights. Simultaneously, negotiations are ongoing with a mobile company to digitize Hajj 2024 through a dedicated cellphone app, showcasing efforts to enhance accessibility and streamline the pilgrimage experience.