Saudi Arabia extends Umrah season by one month

Saudi Arabia’s Haj and Umrah Ministry on Tuesday extended the Umrah season by a month to allow more time to Muslims across the world to perform the ritual, Radio Pakistan reported.

According to the new timeline, the Umrah season will now end on the 15th of Shawwal instead of the 15th of Ramazan this year.

Earlier in March, the Haj quota for Pakistan was also increased to 179,210 applications for 2017. The quota was reduced in 2013 due to expansion work in the Grand Mosque.

“An agreement for the year 2017 has been signed with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Haj quota has been enhanced from 143,368 to 179,210,” Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Mohammad Yousuf said.

SC calls for finalising Haj policy

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday ordered the government to approve the Haj policy for 2017 within seven days.

A three-member bench of the apex court was hearing a petition registered by tour operators, which states that although a new policy has been submitted to the prime minister, it had not been approved yet.

Until the policy is approved, the new operators will not be able to receive their licences, the petition added.

The bench, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, said that if the government failed to approve the policy in due time, the court wold take it upon itself to give approval.

The court ordered that a draft of the policy should be submitted to the apex court’s registrar.

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