Welcome news for Pakistanis desirous of performing Hajj
In Islamabad, the Caretaker Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Aneeq Ahmed, revealed on Friday that Saudi Arabia's government intends to enhance services for Pakistani pilgrims during the Hajj in 2024.
This announcement followed a comprehensive meeting in Riyadh with Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, attended by Pakistan's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Farooq, and Deputy Chief of Mission, Moazam Khan.
During the discussions, the religious minister emphasized the plan to improve accommodations, meals, and transportation for Pakistani pilgrims, aiming for a more comfortable experience. He also urged his Saudi counterpart to promptly finalize the flight schedule for Pakistani pilgrims and make arrangements for them to stay closer to the holy sites in Makkah and Madinah.
Additionally, he proposed expanding the 'Road to Makkah' project to airports in Pakistan, including Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. Aneeq Ahmed expressed gratitude to King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammad bin Salman for their unwavering support in providing top-notch facilities to pilgrims.
He praised the Saudi government's continuous efforts to enhance services for pilgrims from Pakistan. Saudi Minister for Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, affirmed Saudi Arabia's commitment to further cooperation with Pakistan and highlighted ongoing initiatives to improve services for Pakistani pilgrims.
He mentioned restrictions on private tour operators worldwide, with a requirement for each to serve a minimum of 2,000 pilgrims. The expansion of the 'Road to Makkah' project to cities like Karachi and Lahore was also under consideration.
Both ministers concluded the meeting by expressing their mutual desire to strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.