Record Hajj Participation in 2023: Over 2.5 Million Pilgrims, 160,000 From Pakistan

In 2023, over 2.5 million pilgrims, including 160,000 from Pakistan, participated in the Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam. However, due to inflation and currency devaluation, the pilgrimage cost has soared, leaving a portion of the quota unutilized. To address this, there’s a proposal to establish the Pakistan Hajj Fund (PHF), inspired by successful models in Malaysia, Indonesia, and other Islamic countries.

These countries have implemented Shariah-compliant savings schemes, such as Malaysia’s Tabung Haji, to help citizens save for Hajj. The PHF aims to attract 20 million account holders, with an average annual savings of Rs100,000, potentially accumulating over Rs2 trillion per year. Managed professionally, this fund could reach Rs10 trillion or $35 billion, offering economic dividends.

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The investment universe for PHF includes Sukuk, Islamic commercial papers, real estate, infrastructure, clean energy, startups, Shariah-compliant stocks, and more. Profits would be shared with savers and used for Hajj-related subsidies, reducing the burden on the government. If approved, a working committee of experts could launch this initiative in six months, revolutionizing Hajj savings and pilgrimage management in Pakistan.

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