Pakistan joins Saudi’s Zamzam initiative launched for Hajj pilgrims

In this undated file photo, a volunteer distributes Zamzam water to Hajj pilgrims. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 26 July 2019

Pakistan joins Saudi’s Zamzam initiative launched for Hajj pilgrims

  • Five major airports in Pakistan will store Zamzam water to be distributed among returning pilgrims
  • Saudi Arabia launched “Al-Zamzami Al Sagheer” initiative to provide holy water to pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom

ISLAMABAD: Joining hands with the Saudi initiative to ensure high quality and efficient services in providing Zamzam water to Hajj pilgrims, Pakistan’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said Thursday that “aviation division has inculcated five major airports in the country to store Zamzam water for Hajj pilgrims this year.”
The initiative is “as per the instructions of the Ministry of Religious Affairs to the Islamabad International Airport,” Sarwar told Arab News. 
Ample space had been allocated at the airports for storage of the holy water which would be brought from Saudi Arabia and distributed among pilgrims upon their return from Hajj this year, he said. 
“Pakistan government intends to make Saudi Arabia’s Road to Makkah project a success,” added the minister referring to the grand Saudi initiative aimed at facilitating Hajj pilgrims from across the Muslim world. 
Saudi Arabia’s Al-Zamazema Office has launched “Al-Zamzami Al Sagheer” initiative, sponsored by the undersecretary of the Saudi Hajj Ministry for Religious Affairs, Hussein Al-Sharif, and directly supervised by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. 
The Spokesperson of the Al-Zamazema office, Amir bin Faisal Obaid, said that the initiative aims to provide Zamzam water to pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom. 
“Saudi Arabia aims to provide the pilgrims with high quality and efficient services,” a statement by the Al-Zamazema office said. 
The efforts are in line with the current developments taking place in the Kingdom under King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad, the statement added. 
Zamzam water comes from the Zamzam well located in the Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, and is considered holy in the Islamic faith taken to be a miraculously generated source of water from God. 


Pakistan to be part of new Saudi foreign manpower program 

Updated 14 November 2019

Pakistan to be part of new Saudi foreign manpower program 

  • New skills-based system to be launched from next month
  • Will include India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Starting next month, Saudi Arabia will introduce a new skilled foreign manpower program that will eventually include Pakistan, a senior official at the Saudi labor ministry said this week. 

Nayef Al-Omair, head of the vocational examination program at the Ministry of Labor, said on Tuesday in Riyadh that the ministry was categorizing the tasks and the structure of some professions for visa-issuing purposes.

Under the new policy, visas would be issued only after skill tests and the previous system would be gradually phased out. 

The new scheme would be optional for one year starting December 2019 after which it would become compulsory, Al-Omair said. The new program would first be applied to manpower recruited from India due to its large size in the Saudi market.

Eventually, the program will cover seven countries, including India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Workers belonging to these states constitute 95 percent of professional manpower in the Kingdom’s local market.

Saudi Arabia is home to around 2.6 million Pakistani expats those have been a vital source of foreign remittances.

Last year the country received $21.8 billion in remittances out of which $5 billion were remitted by Pakistani nationals working in Kingdom.

According to the Pakistani ministry of finance, there was a major decline in manpower export to Saudi Arabia where only 100,910 emigrants proceeded for employment in 2018 as compared to 2017, a drop of 42,453 emigrants.

However, Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari, special assistant to the Pakistani prime minister on overseas Pakistanis, said in an interview earlier this month that Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase the share of the Pakistani labor force in the multi-billion dollar New Taif City development.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have formed working groups to develop procedures for this transfer of manpower. Pakistani groups will visit the Kingdom in the coming months to finalize arrangements.