127,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims to fly to Saudi for Hajj this year

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Bangladeshi pilgrims from different part of the country have gathered at the Hajj camp in Dhaka, from where they will take flight for Saudi Arabia. (Shehab Sumon)
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Bangladeshi pilgrims from different part of the country have gathered at the Hajj camp in Dhaka, from where they will take flight for Saudi Arabia. (Shehab Sumon)
Updated 03 July 2019
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127,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims to fly to Saudi for Hajj this year

  • Can avail pre-immigration facilities at Dhaka airport as part of measures introduced by the Kingdom this year  

A total of 127,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims are set to fly to Saudi Arabia for Hajj this year, with the first flight scheduled for 7.15am on Thursday. 
Biman Bangladesh Airlines, the national carrier of the country and Saudi Airlines will carry all the Bangladeshi pilgrims through regular flights and special hajj flights.  The hajj flights will continue till 5th August.  
"We have completed all necessary arrangements to carry around 63,000 pilgrims with 189 hajj flights through four Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Biman will also offer 11 flights to Madina from Dhaka for the first time this year," Tahera Khandoker, General Manager of Biman Bangladesh told Arab News. 
For the convenience of the pilgrims from different part of the country,  Biman will operate 19 hajj flights from Chittagong and three flights from Sylhet, informed Khandoker. Biman will operate 176 post-hajj flights from August 17 to September 15 to return the Bangladeshi pilgrims.  
This year each of the Bangladeshi pilgrims have paid around maximum 5,000 USD to perform the hajj while the government has fixed the minimum cost as 4,100 USD. 
Among 127,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims,  around 7,000 pilgrims are scheduled to perform hajj through the management of religious affairs ministry and the rest others are managed by the 598 private hajj agencies.  
"We have almost settled all the preparations for sending our pilgrims.  But still there are some problems with the visa printing issue as from this year according to the Saudi government policy we had to apply through e - hajj,"  Shahadat Hossain Taslim, President of Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) told Arab News. 
"We are facing this problem with visa in 5 - 10 percent cases. However,  with the support of Saudi embassy in Dhaka we are sorting out this visa issues, " Taslim added. 
Bangladeshi pilgrims will enjoy the pre- immigration process from this year which will ease the immigration hassles of the pilgrims waiting in the long queue at Jeddah airport. Earlier, many of the Bangladeshi pilgrims had to wait for around 4 hours in the aircraft after landing at Jeddah to complete the immigration process.  
In the new system,  now the Bangladeshi pilgrims will complete the immigration formalities at Dhaka airport just before boarding on flights.  Saudi immigration chief General Khaled is scheduled to arrive Dhaka on 5th July to inaugurate this pre immigration program on next Saturday. 


KSRelief chief urges UN to condemn Iranian violence in Yemen

Updated 20 September 2019

KSRelief chief urges UN to condemn Iranian violence in Yemen

  • Iran-backed Houthi militias had been shelling government-controlled civilian areas in the past five years
  • So far 113 Yemeni civilians have been killed, 1,030 have been injured and 20,357 Saudis have been displaced from border regions

CHICAGO: The head of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) called on the UN to pass a resolution condemning the Iranian government for its support of a wave of violence by the Houthis against civilian targets in Yemen.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said the violence is having a “significant negative impact” on the people of Yemen and on the humanitarian aid effort led by the Saudi government.

Referring to the recent drone strikes against the Aramco fields in Saudi Arabia that sent a shockwave through the oil industry and spiked oil and gasoline prices around the world, Al-Rabeeah said it was obvious the Houthis are not capable of mounting such high-tech strikes.

“The initial info indicates that the incident is an Iranian-made attack. We feel there is a need for an investigation by the UN,” Al-Rabeeah said. “Iran is behind many attacks against the region. The UN should take action. There should be a resolution against Iran. The involvement of the UN delivers a message.”

Although he said that the attack is still under investigation, he said that “drones are a technology that the Houthis do not have … the technology is beyond the abilities of the Houthis. There must be a country behind it.”

During a press briefing at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, Al-Rabeeah said as many as 20 humanitarian aid workers funded by a coalition of 80 nations led by Saudi Arabia have been injured or targeted.

He said providing humanitarian aid to the people of Yemen faces many challenges, including the targeting of women and the recruitment of children by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias.

“There is a need for the international community to unify and have the political will to fight any violations against humanitarian support,” Al-Rabeeah said.

Despite attacks by the Houthis against civilian and military targets and humanitarian aid workers, Al-Rabeeah said King Salman has made a commitment to ensure that the aid reaches civilians in areas controlled by the Houthis.

He said that the humanitarian effort has been hampered by the Houthi militia’s shelling of government-controlled civilian areas, releasing data showing 66,403 rocket attacks, 264 Scud missiles, and 233 drone assaults “that continues to increase,” such as the drone assault on the Aramco oil fields last week.

So far 113 Yemeni civilians have been killed, 1,030 have been injured and 20,357 Saudis have been displaced from border regions. Damage has been caused to 41 schools, six hospitals, and 20 mosques.

Despite the challenges, Al-Rabeeah said the humanitarian drive will continue until the conflict is brought to an end.

“We do not call for war against the region. Those attacks are not against Saudi Arabia. They are against all of us,” Al-Rabeeah said.