ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's religious affairs ministry cautioned people on Thursday not to make Hajj bookings until the announcement of the country's official pilgrimage policy for the year.
The annual Islamic pilgrimage to the sacred city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia is expected to take place in the beginning of July.
It is mandatory for all able-bodied, adult Muslims with requisite financial means to perform the religious ritual at least once in their life.
The Pakistani ministry said it was issuing the public alert after getting complaints of fake Hajj bookings from people.
"The Hajj policy 2022 has not been announced yet," it said in an official handout, "and no one has been allowed to make such bookings."
It continued that people should not fall for individuals and organizations asking them to make pilgrimage bookings at this stage.
"Aspiring Hajj pilgrims should wait for an official announcement from the ministry," it added. "They should also report people and companies making fake Hajj bookings by contacting the helpline."
The ministry told people not to entrust their money and passports to anyone, adding the government would take legal action against those running scams in the name of the religious ritual.
Pakistan became part of Saudi Arabia's Makkah Route Initiative before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The facility makes it possible for pilgrims to undergo immigration and customs clearance in their own country before departing for Hajj.
The annual religious ritual has remained limited since the emergence of the pandemic, though the kingdom has allowed representatives of all Muslim nations to perform the pilgrimage during this period.