The federal minister for Religious Affairs, Senator Muhammad Talha Mehmood, has announced
the successful completion of Hajj 2023 arrangements. The minister has worked round-the-clock to
make significant strides in completing the arrangements for Hajj 2023.

When Senator Mehmood assumed responsibility for the ministry just three days before Eid-ul-Fitr,
the preparations for Hajj were at ground zero. However, the Senator has worked tirelessly to turn
the situation around providing all the necessary facilities for the pilgrims. A team of Hajj assistants
will be accompanying the pilgrims to Saudi Arabia in different batches, ensuring their needs are met in terms of food, accommodation, transportation, and medical facilities.

This year Pakistan has been granted a quota of 179,000 pilgrims, of which 85,000 pilgrims will
perform Hajj under the government quota and 89,000 under the private sector. To streamline the
process and save time for the pilgrims, Senator Mehmood has introduced the Makkah Route
initiative. Through this initiative, 26,000 pilgrims flying out from the Islamabad Airport will complete
all immigration requirements at the airport, saving them time upon arrival. The Senator aims to
expand this initiative to Karachi and Lahore airports in the coming years.

Senator Mehmood has also launched an online portal dedicated to Hajj pilgrims to file
complaints or provide valuable suggestions. This platform, personally funded by the Minister,
allows for effective management of complaints and direct communication with the Hajj pilgrims.
The portal has been heavily promoted at airports, and the Senator personally handles every
complaint, even calling people back himself. A dedicated, private team, funded by the minister
himself, works tirelessly to resolve these issues. The portal’s success can be judged from the fact
that so far all 10,000 complaints have been effectively resolved.

Senator Mehmood’s efforts have also resulted in a reduction in Hajj costs. Previously, the cost
under the government quota was 11,75,000 PKR, excluding sacrificial rituals. However, through
his dedication, the Senator has managed to reduce the cost by 55,000 PKR per person. The
refunded amount has been reimbursed to the pilgrims to aid their sacrificial rights.
Senator Talha came across a myriad of challenges along the way mainly in the form of resource
limitations. However, regardless of these challenges, he successfully managed to pull off this
sacred task. As his work continues, his steadfast efforts and smart initiatives are tangible steps
toward ensuring a smooth and satisfying pilgrimage experience.