Efforts to secure visas for king’s Haj guests stepped up

Updated 16 September 2015
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Efforts to secure visas for king’s Haj guests stepped up

RIYADH: The designated body responsible for attending and serving the 1,400 special guests of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman for Haj this year has intensified its efforts to issue visas for them as quickly as possible.
According to Abdullah Al-Medlej, head of the program’s general secretary, his office is in constant contact with Saudi embassies abroad to issue visas for this year’s guests from 70 different countries.
He said there are other parties besides the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance who implement the program.
Other government agencies in Saudi Arabia offer services to overcome difficulties faced by the secretariat including the Foreign Ministry, represented by Saudi embassies in these particular states.
“We are in constant contact with them as partners to inform these guest, provide services to them and sort out visa issue,” the official said, adding there is great cooperation to overcome difficulties to help in completing their travel procedures at airports.
These embassies themselves select the guests who meet the terms and conditions, in accordance with the number determined for each state based on the proportion of Muslims in that country, the size of the state, its importance and the need for hosting them.


FaceOf: Khalid bin Qarar Al-Harbi, commander of the Hajj Security Forces

Updated 17 min 58 sec ago
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FaceOf: Khalid bin Qarar Al-Harbi, commander of the Hajj Security Forces

Khalid bin Qarar Al-Harbi has been serving as the commander of Special Emergency Forces and commander of the Hajj Security Forces since July 2017.

He graduated from King Fahd Security College in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in security sciences. After his graduation, he joined the Emergency Forces for the Madinah region. He worked in different departments of the forces and held different positions, including company commander, battalion commander, the commander of the recruitment and training center and the operations manager. 

Subsequently, Al-Harbi was promoted as the force commander for Madinah city. In 2006, he was appointed as the operations director at the Saudi Special Emergency Forces headquarters. He was later promoted as the commander of the Special Emergency Forces in 2010. 

He completed several courses on different areas of security sciences in Saudi Arabia and from different institutions in the UK, France, Egypt, Indonesia and China. The courses pertained to combating terrorism, special operations, riot control, and security leadership. 

He participated in many counterterrorism operations. 

Al-Harbi also has extensive experience in the organization and management of Hajj and Umrah seasons in Makkah and Madinah. He has contributed in laying the foundations plans of crowd management and organization in Jamarat during Hajj. 

On Friday, he visited  the “Kafa” exhibition held in Makkah. The event was organized by the Kafa Anti-Smoking Association to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking and drugs. The association offers its services to pilgrims who wish to quit smoking and spreads awareness among them.  “Kafa” annually organizes campaigns and programs during the Hajj season to educate pilgrims about the dangers of smoking, and they reportedly treated about 500 pilgrims in Mina last year.