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Saudi Arabia restores Pakistan’s pre-COVID Hajj quota, ends age limit

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  • Saudi Arabia restores Pakistan’s Hajj quota to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Age limit for Hajj pilgrims has been abolished by Riyadh. 
  • Hajj Policy 2023 will be announced after approval of cabinet. 

In a major development, Saudi Arabia restored Pakistan’s Hajj quota to pre-pandemic levels and lifted the upper age limit as the COVID-19 epidemic waned, confirmed Ministry for Religious Affairs on Monday.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Mufti Abdul Shakoor received a draft of the annual Hajj agreement from the Saudi authorities, under which, Pakistan’s previous Hajj quota of 179,210 pilgrims has been restored and the age limit of 65 years has been abolished, according to the ministry.

The religious affairs minister is currently in Saudi Arabia to attend the four-day International Hajj Conference. During his visit, the minister called on his Saudi counterpart and other officials.

According to the ministry, this year Hajj applications are likely to be invited by the end of February. The minister will announce the Hajj Policy 2023 after the approval of the federal cabinet.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia‘s Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Tawfiq al-Rabi’ah, has said that delegations from 19 countries including Pakistan, India and Iran signed Hajj agreements.

These agreements detail the number of pilgrims, their arrival and departure, and the services offered to them.

Turkey, Sudan, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, and Bahrain are among the other signatories of the Hajj Agreement, said the Saudi minister.

Furthermore, a delegation including ministers from 12 countries met the minister, who then informed the delegations about the new facilities offered to Hajj pilgrims by the Saudi government.

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Senate Session: Senate Proceeds With Debate On Important National Issues

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Today, the Senate reconvened in the Parliament House in Islamabad, with Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani presiding.

The House has persisted in debating matters of national significance.

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Elections

Government Formation: PML-N & PPP To Hold New Round Of Talks Today

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The Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz would begin their second round of negotiations today.

In a casual chat with reporters, PML-N Leader Azam Nazir Tarar stated that the negotiations are progressing well.

Tarar went on to say that some decisions on PPP’s involvement in the Cabinet had already been made.

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Business

Over 600 points are added by PSX in intraday trading.

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Tuesday’s lunchtime trading on the Pakistan Stock Exchange saw favorable activity.

During intraday trading, the benchmark KSE-100 Index increased by 672.08 points, or 1.11%, and was trading at 61131.82 levels.

The KSE-30 Index was trading at 20,558.31 after adding 211.46 points, or 1.04%.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) had another round of discussions for the establishment of a central government the day before the rally in the local stock exchange.

In the meanwhile, Fitch Ratings has issued a warning, stating that the likelihood of default would rise in the event of a drawn-out discussion or the inability to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to the State Bank of Pakistan, which reported net foreign reserves of $8 billion as of February 9, 2024, up from a low of $2.9 billion on February 3, 2023, Pakistan’s external situation has improved recently.

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