Dhaka mission steps up support for pilgrims

Bangladeshi pilgrims gather at Hajj information center and clinics. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 08 August 2019

Dhaka mission steps up support for pilgrims

  • 40 more people have been added to the team that aids pilgrims

About 125,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims have arrived in Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj this year following a round-the-clock operation by Bangladesh’s Hajj mission in Dhaka.

“A 40-member team from the Religious Affairs Ministry has been added to the regular Hajj staffers to help the pilgrims heading to Makkah,” Saiful Islam, director of the Hajj office in Dhaka, told
Arab News.

“Although there were some visa-related issues, steps were taken to solve the problems. All willing Hajj pilgrims are now entrusted with visas,” Islam said.

The pilgrimage is due to be completed on Aug. 10.

Bangladesh’s Hajj Agencies Association, which represents private Hajj operators, praised the Hajj management in Saudi Arabia this year.

“Wonderful management — there is no hassle for the pilgrims,” Shahdat Hossain Taslim, the association’s secretary general, said.

“In Makkah and Madinah, we have launched two clinics where 127 doctors and nurses have been deployed to treat Bangladeshi pilgrims. An 18-member emergency response team will also look after the well-being of pilgrims,” he said.

Taslim said that Saudi Hajj officials were focusing on logistical issues to help the pilgrims during their stay at Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah.

Pilgrims sometimes faced difficulties due to lack of sufficient transport, he said.

“This problem can be easily solved if a few more vehicles are added.”

Bangladeshi pilgrims have welcomed the overall Hajj management in Saudi Arabia.

Arif Murshed Khan, from Cumilla, plans to perform Hajj with his wife and three maternal aunts.

“It’s amazing to see how Saudi authorities manage more than 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world. It’s a herculean task,” Khan told Arab News.

“All the pilgrims wear a wristband and a PID (personal information detail) on their chest, which helps them to meet any emergency.”

Another pilgrim, Mansura Begum, said: “I have been suffering from health problems for the past couple of days. I was worried about the availability of specialized doctors, but here at the Bangladeshi clinic I met dedicated female doctors.”

HIGHLIGHT

Round-the-clock effort helps 125,000 worshippers heading to Makkah.

According to the Bangladesh Hajj mission, 33 Bangladeshi worshippers have died during the pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Of these 28 were male and five female. Last year, 145 Bangladeshi pilgrims died during the pilgrimage.

Biman Bangladesh, the official carrier of the country, operated its last flight to Saudi Arabia carrying pilgrims on Monday, while the Saudi airline Saudia is scheduled to carry the last batch of pilgrims on Tuesday morning.

The two airlines began month-long Hajj flights on July 4. For the first time this year, half the Bangladeshi pilgrims have been able to complete pre-immigration formalities at Dhaka airport in line with the Saudi government’s Makkah initiative.

Pilgrims will begin returning home on Aug. 17 and post-Hajj flights will continue till Sept. 15.


Saudi minister hails ‘special relationship’ with Japan

Updated 9 min 46 sec ago

Saudi minister hails ‘special relationship’ with Japan

  • “We share common values,” said Majid Al-Qasabi

TOKYO: Saudi Arabia has a “special relationship” with Japan, which is “reliable strategic partner and friend” of the Kingdom, the Saudi Minister for Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qasabi said on Monday.

The minister was speaking at the launch in Tokyo of the Japanese-language online edition of Arab News, in the latest stage of its global expansion. The event came on the eve of Tuesday’s ceremonial enthronement of Emperor Naruhito in the Japanese capital. “This is a great opportunity, a moment in history,” Al-Qasabi said.

The news website, published in Japanese and English, will focus on enabling the exchange of information between Japan and the Arab world in business, current affairs, and arts and culture. “It will be good to have news in Japanese so many Japanese can read about the Arab world,” Japan’s Defense Minister Taro Kono said at the launch.

Common values

“We share common values, we have a high respect for the elders and we think that the family is very important … to me we are friends and I think we need to work together.

“In order to do that we need to know what people in the Middle East are actually thinking, what is happening on a daily basis, and we haven’t got the source for that — but now Arab News is in Japan.

“This is a very good means to exchange information between the Middle East and Japan, so I am very much looking forward to it.”