KARACHI: Haj Director General Abu Ahmad Akif revealed that the Senate Standing Committee and other authorities concerned had cast doubts on transparency of the processing of Haj applications by banks last year and therefore the federal government had decided to engage Nadra for handling Haj applications.
Speaking to the journalists at Karachi Press Club (KPC), Mr Akif claimed that there were reports that banks misused the system for their favourites while genuine applicants could not avail the opportunity.
The Haj DG pointed out that it was impossible to file application forms in one hour, adding that banks arranged the applications in advance, leaving the ministry with no option but to fix time for the selection of more than 70,000 pilgrims. He pointed out that more than 150,000 had applied for Haj this year but the government closed the selection at 10.09am, which indicated that the banks misused the authority.
He informed that it was being considered that the Nadra data would be helpful for the authorities, particularly to ascertain relation among women and children of the applicants. He disclosed that there were also complaints that most of the private tour operators violated the rules of the host country.
He claimed that the government imposed Rs23 million fine on tour operators on account of large number complaints registered against private tour operators.
The Haj DG the amount of government package for Haj would be Rs250,000, while private operators would charge Rs450,000 and 650,000 from each applicant.
The DG said the government is also planning to scrutinise the list of the Haj operators, who were enjoying Haj quota. There are reports that most of the Haj quota were sold to business groups and transferred to others to make money.
The DG Haj said an amount of more than Rs60 billion was involved every year in Haj season but there was no mechanism to fix the Haj cost for private operators for their services, while such costs were fixed for private operators in other countries.