Lahore’s renovated Hajj camp opens its arms to embrace pilgrims

Lahore’s renovated Hajj camp opens its arms to embrace pilgrims
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Officials for religious ministry are briefing pilgrims at the front desk of the Hajj camp in Lahore on June 27, 2019. (AN)
Lahore’s renovated Hajj camp opens its arms to embrace pilgrims
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In this undated file photo, Hajj pilgrims are sitting on rocks in Saudi Arabia as they perform one of their most sacred religious rituals. Millions of pilgrims from around the world are preparing to travel to Islam's holiest cities of Makkah and Madinah for Hajj. (AP)
Lahore’s renovated Hajj camp opens its arms to embrace pilgrims
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Volunteers of Punjab Scouts stand guard at the main gate of the Hajj camp in Lahore on June 27, 2019. (AN)
Lahore’s renovated Hajj camp opens its arms to embrace pilgrims
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This picture gives the general view of the main building of the Hajj camp in Lahore on June 27, 2019. (AN)
Lahore’s renovated Hajj camp opens its arms to embrace pilgrims
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Doctors of the Punjab health department are vaccinating pilgrims at the Hajj camp in Lahore on June 27, 2019. (AN)
Updated 28 June 2019

Lahore’s renovated Hajj camp opens its arms to embrace pilgrims

Lahore’s renovated Hajj camp opens its arms to embrace pilgrims
  • The facility will serve 56,000 pilgrims
  • Hajj flights from Pakistan will start from July 4

LAHORE: The ministry of religious affairs has operationalized Hajj camp in Punjab’s provincial capital after renovating the facility to assist thousands of pilgrims who want to perform the sacred journey to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah this year, said an official of the Hajj directorate while talking to Arab News on Thursday.
The camp has been set up in a historic building that was constructed by the renowned 19th century banker and philanthropist, Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, who also built an impressive public library and a college to educate the youth of the city. The Majithia Hall, where the authorities have established the camp, is now owned by the Evacuee Trust Properties Board (ETPB) that is using it for Hajj operations.
“The building’s renovation work is done and the camp is ready to serve 56,000 pilgrims who will begin their spiritual journey from Lahore,” Rehan Abbas Khokhar, Lahore’s director Hajj, told Arab News, adding, “It is the biggest Hajj camp in Punjab.”
Hajj camps are used as pilgrims’ base camp before they embark on their journey to Saudi Arabia.
“We have set up vaccination centers, special booths of different banks to provide money changing facility, and documents completion center for pilgrims. The vaccination centers have started functioning from Tuesday,” Khokhar said.
“The Punjab health department has set up separate vaccination booths for male and female pilgrims,” Dr. Shazia Khan, head of the vaccination wing, told Arab News.
In the past, authorities also used the Hajj camp to educate pilgrims about the religious rituals performed during their journey. However, officials gave this training to people at various facilities situated near their respective residences this year.
The pilgrims from far off places, who intend to depart from Lahore, will now gather at the facility two days before their flights and the staff of the directorate will hand them over their passports and other travel documents before they fly to their destination.
“The Punjab scouts are here to serve the pilgrims. They will receive them at the gate and help them get their documents,” Scout Muhammad Arshad Naz, deputy coordinator of the camp, told Arab News.
Officials of the religious ministry said they were doing everything to facilitate Hajj pilgrims from Pakistan and vowed to make Saudi Arabia’s ‘Road to Makkah’ project a success.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave his consent this year to include Pakistan in the project to facilitate Hajj pilgrims.
As part of the Road to Makkah initiative, the Hajj quota for Pakistani pilgrims has also been increased from 184,210 to 200,000 this year. Saudi Arabia has also agreed in principle to provide e-visas to Pakistanis wishing to perform Hajj.