The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony in Pakistan has announced an extension on the last date for Hajj applications. According to the notification issued by the ministry, the deadline for submission of applications under the sponsorship scheme has been extended to April 7, 2023. The decision has been made due to difficulties in receiving remittances from overseas Pakistanis.
The spokesperson of the ministry has urged intending pilgrims to submit their Hajj applications and dues in time. Designated banks will remain open on weekends to receive Hajj applications. The State Bank of Pakistan has granted permission to the banks to remain open on Saturdays and Sundays. The spokesperson has also said that applicants for the Sponsorship Hajj Scheme will be declared successful without drawing a lottery.
For applications sent under the Sponsorship Scheme, funds should be remitted to the Ministry of Religious Affairs account through telegraphic transfer or wire transfer. Applicants should contact their nearest bank of choice for verification and processing of the remitted funds. The spokesperson added that applicants should refer to the designated banks for further information and processing.
Earlier this week, the Ministry of Religious Affairs had ruled out the possibility of extending the last date to submit Hajj applications. The ministry had received 44,621 Hajj applications through designated banks so far. Of these, 40,313 applications were received under the Government Hajj Scheme and 4,308 under the Sponsorship Hajj Scheme.
The recent notification issued by the ministry requires that all designated banks may collect applications and dues from the pilgrims on closed holidays, which are April 1 and 2. The statement also requested that an extension of the last date for submission of applications under the sponsorship scheme may be communicated to all the missions for publicizing the same to overseas Pakistanis.
In conclusion, the extension of the deadline for the submission of Hajj applications under the sponsorship scheme is a welcome relief for many intending pilgrims who were facing difficulties in remitting their funds. The decision to keep the designated banks open on weekends will also make it easier for applicants to submit their applications in time. The spokesperson has urged all intending pilgrims to take advantage of the extended deadline and submit their applications and dues as soon as possible.