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We are ready to privatize Hajj operation: Khurshid Shah

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Islamabad: The government is ready to privatize the Hajj operation completely after the approval of the parliament and Haj requests would be received from April 10. These views were expressed by Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khurshid Shah at the session of National Assembly while responding to different questions of the parliamentarians during question hour.

He said that this year applications for Hajj would be received from 10 April. No subsidy could be offered to Pakistani Hajis because Islamic Ideological Council has issued a decree in this regard. Shah told the house if any parliamentarian stayed at Pakistan House Mecca , he had paid his dues . According to the instructions of Supreme Court, a sum of Rs 440 million have been paid to Pakistani affected Hajis , who performed Hajj during 2010.

He said that the government is making efforts to reduce the Hajj expenses to Rs 0.19 million from 0.24 million so as there would be some differences in the expenditures of government and private sector. If Hajj operation would be given to private sector, the people could not bear expenditures, he informed the National Assembly.

New Hajj policy would be announced soon and services of Saudi nationals would be hired as Khadam-ul-Hajjaj instead of Pakistanis because they know all the holy places as well as routes just to save the time of Pakistani Hajis. “It would be my personal desire that the accommodation for Hajis may be hired within the sphere of 2000 meter from Haram”, Shah added.

The Parliamentary Secretary of Education that the rate of literacy in the country is 57 percent out of which 69 percent boys and 45 percent girls can read and write. Replying another question Khurshid Shah in place of Federal Minister Makhdoom Shahab-ud-Din said that due to floods cotton crop got damage on large scale due to which the production of cotton has been decreased. If the government would put ban on export of cotton, next year the farmers would not grow cotton as they would prefer other cultivations.

Federal Minister for Inter Provisional Harmony Mian Raza Rabbani told the house that from now on education would be dealt by the provinces as it has been transferred to them. “Before the 18th Amendment, education was already with the provinces except curricular and some other minor issues”, Federal Minister added.

He said that international donors agencies can contact province through Ministry of Finance, which in this connection would play the role of post office.-ONLINE

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