Pakistan lauds Saudi efforts as 2m head for Umrah in Ramadan

Pakistani pilgrims upon their arrival in Jeddah. (AFP)
Updated 23 May 2019
0

Pakistan lauds Saudi efforts as 2m head for Umrah in Ramadan

  • The government of Saudi Arabia makes special arrangements each year for the pilgrims

ISLAMABAD: Nearly 2 million Pakistanis are expected to perform Umrah during Ramadan this year, officials at the Pakistani Ministry of Religious Affairs told Arab News.

The number of Pakistanis performing Umrah “keeps increasing every year,” said ministry spokesman Imran Siddique, adding that 1.5 million Pakistanis did so last year.

“The government of Saudi Arabia makes special arrangements each year for the pilgrims, which includes exceptional suhoor and iftar meals,” he said.

The ministry is in touch with relevant Saudi authorities “to ensure the best possible facilities for pilgrims this year,” he added.

Pakistani travel and tour operators have introduced special Umrah packages that include scheduled trips to Makkah and Madinah.

“Our business increases around 10-fold during Ramadan because the majority of people want to perform Umrah during the holy month,” Abuzar Butt, manager of Bhagwal Travel Operators, told Arab News.

Tour operators start booking hotel accommodation in Makkah and Madinah, as well as air tickets, several months ahead of Ramadan due to high demand. 

“We’ve never heard of any complaints from our customers regarding their stay and facilities in Saudi Arabia during the pilgrimage,” Butt said.

One of Pakistan’s most beloved actresses, Sarah Khan, wrote on Instagram: “There is no place like Madinah. This is where I was born and this is where I belong. May every Muslim get to see this place Insha’Allah (God willing).”

Celebrated actor Muneeb Butt wrote on Instagram: “Alhamdulilah (thank God) 1st Umrah done!,” He captioned one of his photos: “Don’t have words to express that feeling when we saw Haram for the first time … Allah O Akbar.”

Umrah, unlike Hajj, is not obligatory for Muslims, but holds major religious significance and spiritual importance.


Pakistan’s anti-graft agency arrests opposition leader Khursheed Shah

Updated 18 September 2019

Pakistan’s anti-graft agency arrests opposition leader Khursheed Shah

  • Shah will be presented to court in Sukkur for remand on Thursday
  • Shah was taken away by nearly 20 personnel of NAB and police

KARACHI: Pakistan’s anti-graft agency said on Wednesday it had arrested opposition Pakistan People’s Party leader Khursheed Shah over questions around the source of his income.
“NAB’s Sukkur chapter has arrested Syed Khursheed Shah over ‘assets beyond means’,” the National Accountability Bureau said in a statement, refering to a class of case in which a defendant is accused of possessing assets higher than their known sources of income.
Shah will be presented to court in Sukkur for remand on Thursday, an official statement said.
The opposition stalwart was arrested in a joint operation by NAB’s Rawalpindi and Sukkur chapters, Pakistan’s DawnNewsTV reported. He will remain in custody on Wednesday evening.
Shah was taken away by nearly 20 personnel of NAB and police during a raid at his Islamabad home, the domestic staff at his house told DawnNewsTV.