Pakistan awaits Saudi response for waiver of Umrah tax

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noor-ul-Haq Qadri has said that the Saudi Authorities are being pursued for waiver of tax of 2,000 Saudi Riyal imposed on Pakistanis performing Umrah every year.

To a question by Sabir Hussain Kaim Khani of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), the minister told the National Assembly in a written reply that Prime Minister Imran Khan during his first visit to Saudi Arabia in September 2018 discussed the issue with the Saudi Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud for waiver of 2,000 Saudi Riyal as Umrah tax on Pakistanis.

Noor-ul-Haq Qadri told that he also discussed this issue with the Saudi Information Minister but response from Saudi Arabia is still awaited.

The religious minister also told that House that the Hajj Group Organizers Scheme was introduced in Pakistan for the first time during Hajj 2005 in line with the Saudi government’s instructions to introduce private sector all around the world in the hajj related affairs, so that the hujjaj (pilgrims) may have different options of availing the facility of hajj under the government or private scheme.

Qadri said that since then the ministry is sharing the quota between private and government schemes.

The minister also told that different hajj packages depending upon the facilities provided therein for the intending hujjaj, are introduced for the Private Hajj Scheme, so that all the Hajis may perform Hajj according to their choice and comfort.

Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said that there is an option for the private haji to select the package according to facilities he wants to avail during the hajj. He added that the rate charges of each package are already determined.