Road to Makkah project paves way for seamless Hajj operations in Pakistan

Road to Makkah project paves way for seamless Hajj operations in Pakistan
Updated 05 July 2019

Road to Makkah project paves way for seamless Hajj operations in Pakistan

Road to Makkah project paves way for seamless Hajj operations in Pakistan
  • Initiative is ‘gift from King Salman and Crown Prince,’ Saudi envoy Al-Malki says
  • 64-member Saudi team installs new immigration system to facilitate pilgrims flying from Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: Two Hajj flights, one from Lahore and one from Islamabad, departed for Saudi Arabia on Thursday morning, a day after a Saudi delegation from Riyadh visited Islamabad International Airport to review arrangements for the annual pilgrimage. 
“It’s the first time Road to Makkah project has been introduced in Pakistan. It’s a gift from King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman to help and assist our (Pakistani) brothers and Hajj pilgrims from Pakistan,” Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, who is Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Pakistan, told Arab News on Wednesday after reviewing Hajj arrangements with the Saudi delegation. 
He said the Hajj quota for Pakistanis, enhanced to 200,000 by the Saudi government in April, could be further increased. 
On Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to formally inaugurate the Road to Makkah project in Pakistan, the PM’s adviser Arbab Shehzad said. 
A team of 64 Saudi officials arrived in Islamabad on Sunday and installed an immigration system at the Islamabad International Airport to facilitate Pakistani pilgrims flying to Makkah and Madinah for Hajj this year. The immigration facility, staffed by Saudi officers, has been set up separately from regular immigration counters and is expected to be introduced in other airports of the country also. 
Figures from Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs show over 21,000 Hajj pilgrims will avail the facility during this Hajj season. Also, once Pakistani Hajj pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia, they will no longer face long immigration lines or have to lug travel bags, which Saudi officials said would be delivered straight to their points of stay.