The 14 designated banks around the nation collecting Hajj applications were informed on Friday by the religious affairs ministry that they would be open on Saturday and Sunday (March 25 and 26).
According to the ministry’s spokesperson Muhammad Umar Butt, who talked to APP, the decision was made owing to a lack of time and the sheer volume of individuals who planned to submit their Hajj applications and fees in the banks during the off days.
The transfer of monies from abroad into the foreign currency account of the religious affairs ministry takes roughly two to three business days, he added. “It will also enable overseas Pakistanis to apply under the Sponsorship Hajj Scheme.”
Butt stated that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had instructed the approved financial institutions to remain open from 9 am to 2 pm on this specific weekend in order to ensure the smooth functioning of the Hajj. This was in response to a letter from the government.
Butt stated that as of March 22, the ministry has received more than 26,000 Hajj application submissions.
According to him, more than 2,000 candidates wanting foreign exchange from abroad had signed up for the sponsorship program. He stated that overseas Pakistanis might either provide a medical fitness certificate before their Hajj flight or they could submit a health certificate issued from abroad to the bank. He also said that people who had not yet received the coronavirus vaccine might apply.
However, Butt added that in order to be eligible for the package’s potential savings, international applicants under the regular scheme must open a bank account after arriving in Pakistan. They should submit their applications to the bank through the individuals they have designated here in Pakistan.