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Sri Lanka Imposes Deadline For Departing Tourists

Sri Lanka Imposes Deadline For Departing Tourists

In an effort to streamline preparations for the annual Haj pilgrimage, passport delivery counters across Pakistan are scheduled to operate on weekends. The announcement, made by a spokesperson for the Immigration and Passport (IMPASS) department, stated that from March 2 to March 15, passport offices would extend their services to Saturdays and Sundays. This initiative aims to provide convenience and support to prospective pilgrims gearing up for the significant religious journey.

Mustafa Jamal Qazi, the Director General of Immigration and Passports, emphasized the importance of this measure in a press release issued by the department. He affirmed that during the specified period, passport delivery centers would be open on weekends, including Fridays from 9 am to 1 pm, to facilitate individuals planning to embark on the Hajj pilgrimage. The commitment of authorities to expedite the passport issuance process was evident in the decision to extend service hours during this critical period.

Read more: Hajj 2024: Deportation, 6-Month Jail For Violators

Passport issuance for prospective Haj pilgrims commenced across Pakistan on February 24, providing relief and anticipation to thousands of individuals. Passport offices remained open on that day to ensure the smooth processing of applications. The issuance of passports primarily targets the 28,000 Haj pilgrims opting for the official pilgrimage package. According to the Religious Affairs Ministry, passports must be submitted to respective banks by February 26.

To cater to the diverse needs of pilgrims, the government has introduced the Short Hajj package, and the Sponsorship Scheme remains valid for this year. The Long Hajj package spans 38-42 days with an 8-day stay in Medinah. Pilgrims flying from the South region (Karachi and Sukkhur) are required to pay Rs 10,65,000, while those from other cities (Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Sialkot, Faisalabad) have a fee of Rs 10,75,000.

For Sponsorship Scheme applicants, the cost is $3765 for the South Region and $3800 for the North Region for the Long Hajj package. The Short Hajj package costs Rs 11,40,000 for the South region and Rs 11,50,000 for the North region, continuing for 20-25 days.

Despite the economic challenges and visible inflation in the country, the government has sought support from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to launch awareness campaigns. The aim is to encourage more applicants to participate in the spiritual journey of Haj, emphasizing the significance of the pilgrimage in the face of economic constraints.