ISLAMABAD: Minister for Religious Affairs Mufti Abdul Shakoor here on Friday assured the National Assembly that the government was negotiating with the quarters concerned to further bring down the expenses of Hajj-2022 below Rs. 6,50,000. In a policy statement in the House, he said, “I am still negotiating with the Saudi government and other quarters concerned to further reduce the expenses of upcoming Hajj from 650,000 aimed at extending maximum facilities to intending pilgrims in performing the religious obligation.” He said the Ministry of Religious Affairs had hired the residential buildings in Makkah at the rate of 2100 Saudi Riyal against the rate of 3600 Riyal paid in 2019 by the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). He said his ministry had hired buildings in Madina-tul-Munawara at 720 Riyal against the rate of 2100 Riyal paid in 2019. He said Saudi Arabia had fixed 9500 Riyal expense for each intending pilgrim of D-Category against 5500 Riyal.” Had there the PTI government, the expense of Hajj would have been Rs 1100,000 per pilgrim,” he added. “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, the expense of the upcoming Hajj had been brought down to Rs 65,000 and efforts were underway to further reduce it,” he said. He said expense of the food and transport had also been reduced by the government of Saudi Arabia on the request of Pakistan. The minister said soon after assuming the charge, he was shocked to see when his ministry briefed him about the exorbitant expense of Hajj. “I made it clear that I will prefer to resign and leave the government rather announcing the expensive hajj.” Mufti Abdul Shakoor said his leader Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman had also directed him to reduce the expense of the hajj. He also assured that the corruption committed in his Ministry by the previous government would be dug out and shared with the House. The minister said a comprehensive and affordable package for Umrah and Ziaraat would soon be introduced. He vowed that an affordable package for the minorities would also be introduced soon to facilitate them in visiting their sacred and religious places.