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Saudi Arabia to abolish additional tax on pilgrimages : Mian Zahid Hussain

Lahore : President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) Mian Zahid Hussain said the imposition of additional tax on those aspiring for multiple pilgrimages should be abolished.

The tax imposed by Saudi Arabia on those who want to perform Hajj or Umrah repeatedly will hit many as around two hundred thousand Pakistanis perform Hajj and some one million perform Umrah annually, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that government should take up the matter with the concerned Saudi authorities as it will also hit the business of tour operators and the airlines.

The Saudi government has taken the decision to avoid the unnecessary rush and to give chance to new aspirants by discouraging those who have repeatedly performed Hajj and Umrah.

After the imposition of the new tax, pilgrims who have performed Hajj in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and will be performing this year as well, under both government and private schemes, will have to pay an additional fee of 2000 Saudi Riyal.

The business leader said that a reason for imposing a new tax is that the number of people going for Hajj and Umrah was increasing every year which increased the risk of unnecessary accidents such as stampedes.

Saudi government thinks that the new rule will help it improve Hajj and Umrah management to avoid any untoward situation, he added.

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