Hajj Pilgrimage Costs Surge as Pakistan Raises Package Prices
Pakistani pilgrims walk in line as they prepare to board a Pakistan International Airlines’ special Haj pilgrimage flight bound for Saudi Arabia at the Allama Iqbal International airport in Lahore on November 2, 2008. Around 165,000 pilgrims from Pakistan are expected to leave for the annual Haj congregation in Mecca. AFP PHOTO/Arif ALI (Photo by Arif Ali / AFP)

The cost of the annual Hajj pilgrimage has surged dramatically this year, as the Religious Affairs Minister in Pakistan announced a significant increase in package prices. The official Hajj cost for Pakistani pilgrims now exceeds Rs. 1.175 million, a substantial rise from last year’s expense of Rs. 826,000.

The rise in expenditure can be attributed to various factors, including global inflation, increased food prices, and inflated lodging rates. Additionally, pilgrims are required to pay for animal sacrifices separately, which has increased from Rs. 300,000 to Rs. 356,000 this year.

Furthermore, the visa cost has increased from Rs. 16,000 to Rs. 22,275, while the airfare has climbed from Rs. 70,000 to Rs. 250,000. Food and drink prices for pilgrims have also more than quadrupled, with the cost for 38 days exceeding Rs. 100,000, up from Rs. 53,440 last year. Rents in Makkah have climbed by around Rs. 82,000, while rentals in Madinah have increased by approximately Rs. 41,000. Transportation costs have also risen from Rs. 61,000 to Rs. 112,000.

The Hajj package also includes other fees, such as Rs. 43,882 for rail travel and Rs. 1,100 for Zam Zam water charges, which was previously Rs. 721. A further Rs. 12,000 is being charged for medications, vaccinations, and other vital supplies.

The cost of the Hajj pilgrimage has risen significantly this year, making it more difficult for Pakistani Muslims to undertake the journey. The increase in package prices, along with rising costs for food, lodging, transportation, and other expenses, have made the pilgrimage less accessible for many who wish to perform this sacred obligation.

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