Umrah Policy: Religious ministry proposal

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ISLAMABAD: (APP) Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony has proposed establishing a complaint cell in the ministry to facilitate pilgrims performing Umrah.

Official sources told APP that the ministry has prepared a Draft Umrah Policy for regulating Umrah operations.

The ministry has also sought suggestions from people by September 5 for incorporating the same into the final policy.

According to Draft Umrah policy, the proposed Complaint Disposal Committee (CDC) would be headed by Joint Secretary (Umrah).

While members are included deputy secretary (Umrah) and section officer (Umrah) would perform the duties of secretary committee.

The committee after examining maintainability of complaints would issue a show cause notice in writing asking the accused Umrah operator to clarify his position within 15 days.

The CDC would impose penalties including black listing and cancellation of contract agreement and confiscation of security deposits of guilty Umrah organiser.

Minor penalty included suspension/termination of contract for specific time and imposition of fine or forfeiture of full or a part of security amount and warning/censure asking the guilty organizer to be careful in future.

Appeals against the CDC decision could be filed within 30 days of the decision. Secretary Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony is the appellate authority.

Draft Umrah policy has proposed two Umrah packages including Economy and Standard. Umrah operators should provide details of both packages to religious ministry giving details of cost of each package, hiring of buildings, details of transport facility to be provided in Saudi Arabia to Umrah pilgrims

The Umrah organisers would be fined Rs 200,000 in case of violation of agreement inked with Umrah pilgrim, the organiser could also be black listed for future business.

The Umrah organisers must ink a service provider agreement with ministry of religious affairs and interfaith harmony.

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