Saudi Arabia increases Pakistan's quota by 5,000 for Hajj 2019

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Pakistan's Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony signs Hajj agreement in the holy city of Makkah with Saudi Hajj and Umrah Minister Dr. Mohammed Saleh bin Taher Benten on Sunday. (Photo courtesy: Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony)
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The Pakistani and Saudi ministers, along with their delegations, held discussions on increasing the Hajj quota and facilitating pilgrims from Pakistan. (Photo courtesy: Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony)
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The Pakistani and Saudi ministers, along with their delegations, held discussions on increasing the Hajj quota and facilitating pilgrims from Pakistan. (Photo courtesy: Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony)
Updated 09 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia increases Pakistan's quota by 5,000 for Hajj 2019

  • The Kingdom will consider further increase of 25,000, says Pakistan's Religious Affairs Ministry
  • Waiver of 2,000 Riyal Hajj fee also to be reviewed by Saudia Arabia

ISLAMABAD: Ministers of both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan inked a new Hajj agreement in Saudi Arabia on Sunday increasing the pilgrimage quota for Pakistanis by 5000 over a requested 30,000 owing to the south Asian nation’s growing population.

Pakistan’s Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, and Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten, signed the Hajj policy 2019 in the holy city of Makkah, Imran Siddiqui spokesman for the Ministry of Religious Affairs told Arab News.

Siddqui said, “the Saudi minister has promised to take Pakistan’s request to crown prince Muhammed bin Salman” and the approval for remaining quota of 25,000 is highly expected. Keeping in view the new census results of Pakistan’s 207 million population, increase in Hajj quota will be under consideration.

In a statement the spokesman added that next year, 189,210 Pakistanis will be able to perform Hajj. Pakistani pilgrims will get e-visas under the agreement however the waiver of SAR 2,000 visa charge will transpire after consultation with the King of Saudi Arabia.

There will be a phase wise inclusion of Pakistani pilgrims in the Road to Mecca project. Initially, 35,000 pilgrims from southern province of Sindh will benefit [from the program].

The program requires the vetting and immigration processes for pilgrims to take place at the Karachi airport.
Last year, Saudi Arabia had increased the quota by 15,000 for Pakistan to a total of 179,210 which ranks second in the top ten counties awarded Hajj visas quotas. Indonesia ranks highest with 221,000 as per statistics of 2017. 

In February, the Ministry of Religious Affairs had requested the Kingdom to increase the total to 194,210 but the Kingdom declined and increased the pilgrim quota to 5,000 which allowed up to 184,210 to perform Hajj in 2018.

“Effort will be made to find accommodation for most Pakistanis in old Mina,” said the statement quoting minister Noorul Haq Qadri, who appreciated Saudi authorities for considering Pakistan’s recommendations.


Serie A president Gaetano Micciche praises ‘Saudi hospitality’ ahead of Supercoppa Italiana in Jeddah

Updated 46 min 29 sec ago
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Serie A president Gaetano Micciche praises ‘Saudi hospitality’ ahead of Supercoppa Italiana in Jeddah

  • Speaking exclusively to Arab News, Micciche said it was a "great honor" to be in the Kingdom
  • The Serie A chief also discussed his thoughts his impressions on Jeddah and the event

JEDDAH: From day one, Serie A president Gaetano Micciche has been a staunch defender of Saudi Arabia playing host to the Italian Super Cup. With the kick-off now mere hours away at King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah, his good faith has been rewarded.
“We have had great hospitality,” he said. “I am really glad to experience Saudi Arabia not only for myself, but for all Italian people that have arrived here for the first time. The Saudi public has been full of kindness for the Italian people. It is a great honor for Serie A and myself to be here for such an important event.”

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the Serie A chief discussed his thoughts his impressions on Jeddah and the event.
“I am happy because I now have a fair impression of the situation here,” he said. “I will surely be returning to Italy full of satisfaction and with positive ideas to return in the near future with other matches. All of the responses that I have seen have been very positive. Jeddah is a city that is rapidly evolving. It is really interesting for me and I have no doubt that there is a large and great potentiality for Jeddah to grow in the years to come.”
Micciche said he was delighted to find such a modern and beautifully built stadium.

Serie A president Gaetano Micciche (C) with Arab News' Abdulaziz Al-Aquil (R) and columnist Max Ferrari (L). (AN Photo)

King Abdullah Sports City (KASC), also known as “Al Jawhara,” Arabic for “jewel,” is the largest football stadium in Jeddah, with a maximum capacity of more than 62,000.
“I was happy to see the complex, which is one of the most beautiful in the world,” he said.
“I was especially happy to learn that the stadium has been completely sold out and that more than 15,000 women will be attending. I believe that sport in general, and football in particular, is a special factor of life. Today, two of the best Italian teams will be playing and I am sure they will put on a great match. I repeat: I am happy with all the organization, with the city, with the people, and with the hospitality.”