ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s religious affairs ministry said on Tuesday pilgrims who had traveled to Saudi Arabia for Hajj this year could purchase sacrificial animals through coupons from nine authorized entities, state-owned Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reported.
Purchasing and sacrificing an animal, typically a goat or a sheep, is a part of Hajj and incumbent on all pilgrims. Once slaughtered, at least two-thirds of the meat of the sacrificial animal is donated to the poor.
This year, Saudi authorities reinstated Pakistan’s pre-pandemic Hajj quota, allowing 179,210 Pakistani pilgrims to participate in the pilgrimage while removing the upper age limit of 65 years. Around 80,000 Pakistanis will perform Hajj under the government scheme, while the rest will be facilitated by private tour operators.
According to the religious affairs ministry, over 50,000 Pakistanis have arrived in the kingdom so far for the annual Islamic pilgrimage since the government launched a special flight operation on May 21.
“The Saudi government has authorized nine entities for the sale of sacrificial coupons, with each Hajj pilgrim required to purchase one coupon at a total price of 720 Riyals ($192),” APP reported, citing Muhammad Umer Butt, the religious ministry spokesperson.
“This initiative aims to facilitate Pakistani pilgrims who desire to perform their sacrifice with the assistance of the Pakistani government.”
The designated entities for the sale of coupons include Saudi Post, Ehsan, Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Al Bir Society, Hidayah, Saudi National Bank (SNB), Al Rajhi Bank, Bank Albilad, and Tabrah. Butt said the entities had already set up counters within the vicinity of the Great Mosque of Makkah or Masjid al-Haram, from where pilgrims could directly purchase the coupons.
“In addition to the counters set up in the vicinity of the Haram Sharif, pilgrims can also purchase coupons from mobile vans operated by Saudi Post and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), located in various buildings,” Butt added.
“The coupon allows individuals to travel to Mina on foot and collect their portion of meat. Nevertheless, it is recommended to avoid going to Mina due to the high volume of people and the potential risk of getting lost.”