Bangladeshi pilgrims laud Saudi initiatives on return from Hajj

1 / 4
A group of Bangladeshi pilgrims are coming out of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at Dhaka as the first Hajj return flight landed on Saturday. (AN photos by Shehab Sumon)
2 / 4
A group of Bangladeshi pilgrims are coming out of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at Dhaka as the first Hajj return flight landed on Saturday. (AN photos by Shehab Sumon)
3 / 4
A group of Bangladeshi pilgrims are coming out of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at Dhaka as the first Hajj return flight landed on Saturday. (AN photos by Shehab Sumon)
4 / 4
A group of Bangladeshi pilgrims are coming out of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at Dhaka as the first Hajj return flight landed on Saturday. (AN photos by Shehab Sumon)
Updated 20 August 2019

Bangladeshi pilgrims laud Saudi initiatives on return from Hajj

  • Almost all Bangladeshi pilgrims have lauded the new Hajj management initiatives introduced by the Saudi authorities

DHAKA: Bangladeshi pilgrims who returned from the Kingdom late on Saturday commended Saudi Arabia for the management and facilities extended during Hajj.
The first group of pilgrims landed at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka on Saturday with nearly 127,000 Bangladeshis performing Hajj this year.
Half of the pilgrims enjoyed the pre-immigration facilities at Dhaka airport for the first time under the Saudi government’s Makkah Route initiative.
Bangladeshi Hajj officials at Dhaka said that from next year all Bangladeshi pilgrims will enjoy the pre-immigration facilities at Dhaka, which will reduce the waiting time of pilgrims at Saudi airports.  
Almost all Bangladeshi pilgrims have lauded the new Hajj management initiatives introduced by the Saudi authorities.
“After reaching Saudi Arabia, I installed the Smart Hajj app on my smartphone. I found it very useful to identify the exact direction of Qiblah (Kaaba) during my visit to the holy places,” Masuda Begum, a Bangladeshi pilgrim told Arab News.  
“Using the Manasikana app, I located my companions and was reunited with them. The idea of introducing this smart technology during Hajj is really amazing,” she said.
Another Bangladeshi pilgrim, Abul Hashem, suggested that the Smart Hajj app would be more effective if the Saudi management could incorporate the Bangla language.
“Although we understand Hindi and Urdu during conversations, most of us cannot read Hindi and Urdu text. And many of the Bangladeshi pilgrims do not have much knowledge in English, which made us helpless in receiving services from the app,” Hashem said. However, Hashem found the multilingual emergency services very effective.

FASTFACT

• Final batch of 127,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims to return home by Sept. 15

• Pilgrims from Bangladesh praised the pre-immigration facilities introduced by the Saudi government.

• Smart Hajj app helped visitors in performing rituals easily.

• Pilgrims lauded Kingdom’s multilingual emergency services during Hajj.

“One of our fellows suddenly fainted due to the scorching weather and he was immediately hospitalized with the support of these volunteers,” Hashem told Arab News.  
Bangladeshi pilgrim, Dr. Atisha Rabbi, found the overall Hajj management much better this year.  
“After landing at Saudi Arabia airport, I was at a loss about what do since hundreds of pilgrims from different countries were moving together. At this moment, I approached the multilingual speakers at the Hajj terminal and managed my next directions,” she said.  
However, she suggested developing overall toilet management in Mina-Arafat-Muzdalifah during the Hajj ritual days.
“Sometimes I did not get enough water in the washrooms in all three places. With a little effort from the management it would have been even better,” she said.
She also suggested increasing the number of indicator guidelines with multilingual approaches, including Bangla, at different places of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
According to the Hajj office in Dhaka, 81 Bangladeshi pilgrims died in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj season. Last year, the number was about 150.
Bangladesh’s official carrier Biman and Saudi Airlines will operate return Hajj flights until Sept. 15.


New Filipino military chief vows to enforce controversial anti-terror law

Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay. (Supplied)
Updated 03 August 2020

New Filipino military chief vows to enforce controversial anti-terror law

  • Gapay said his priority would be to bring an end to the New People’s Army (NPA) — the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, based primarily in rural areas

MANILA: The new chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, on Monday assumed office with a vow to enforce the country’s recently enacted anti-terrorism law.
The controversial legislation took effect last month, despite legal challenges at the Supreme Court to stop its implementation.
It criminalizes acts that incite terrorism “by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners, or other representations.” The new law also grants authorities broad powers to wiretap and tag individuals and groups as terrorists and detain them without charge for up to 24 days.
“We will capitalize on this very good anti-terror law. It is comprehensive, it is proactive, and it is geared to prevent occurrence of terroristic acts,” Gapay said in his first speech as army chief.
He called on Filipinos to support the military because beside dealing with terrorism and communist insurgency, the country now faced an unseen enemy in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The army, he said, was helping the government contain the deadly virus which had infected more than 100,000 people in the Philippines and claimed at least 2,100 lives.

We will capitalize on this very good anti-terror law. It is comprehensive, it is proactive, and it is geared to prevent occurrence of terroristic acts.

Lieutenant General Gilbert I. Gapay, Commanding general, Philippine Army

Gapay said his priority would be to bring an end to the New People’s Army (NPA) — the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, based primarily in rural areas — and local terrorist groups — Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and factions of the Daulah Islamiyah — that operate mainly in the country’s south.
“There will be no let up as we continue to be at the forefront confronting all these threats. We are trained for this but still we need the support of other agencies; we need the support of our fellow Filipinos,” Gapay added.
He said the army would continue to collaborate with partner agencies and foreign counterparts in addressing domestic and regional threats, adding that it would suggest provisions to the rules and regulations of the new law to enhance intelligence sharing and strengthen maritime security to deter foreign terrorists from entering the country through its porous sea borders.
Prior to his appointment, Gapay, who replaces the retiring Gen. Felimon T. Santos, Jr., served as the 61st army commander.