The State Bank of Pakistan’s directive to keep banks open on Saturday and Sunday is aimed at facilitating intending pilgrims who wish to apply for Hajj 2023. The Hajj is an important religious obligation for Muslims, and every year, thousands of Pakistani pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia to perform this holy pilgrimage.
The central bank’s directive will ensure that pilgrims can conveniently collect and submit their Hajj application forms along with the required dues. The move is expected to ease the process of applying for Hajj and will save intending pilgrims from the hassle of taking time off from their busy schedules during weekdays.
The 14 authorised banks that have been directed to keep their designated branches open throughout the country include National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank Limited, United Bank Limited, and Allied Bank Limited, among others.
The SBP has also directed banks to ensure that all necessary arrangements are in place to avoid any inconvenience to the pilgrims. It has further urged the banks to follow all COVID-19 safety protocols to protect both customers and employees.
This move by the State Bank of Pakistan demonstrates the government’s commitment to facilitating religious pilgrimages and ensuring that the process is as smooth and convenient as possible for the citizens of Pakistan.
The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has approved the Hajj policy for 2023 and has agreed to provide foreign exchange cover worth $90 million.
During a cabinet committee meeting chaired by Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony presented a summary of the policy.
The allocated hajj quota for Pakistan in 2023 is 179,210. This will be distributed equally between government and private hajj schemes. 50% of the quota for both government and private schemes will be reserved for sponsorship schemes.
For the Northern region, the tentative hajj package is Rs1,175,000, and for the South Region, it is Rs1,165,000.