Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah

Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah
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Umrah pilgrims, keeping a safe social distance, offer prayers in the Grand Mosque in Makkah. Saudi Arabia is gradually lifting restrictions imposed following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. (Reuters)
Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah
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Umrah pilgrims perform prayers in the Grand Mosque amid heavy rain on and social distancing on Monday. (SPA)
Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah
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Pakistani pilgrim Umair Mushtaq pose with a Saudi official at the Jeddah airport on his arrival from Pakistan.
Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah
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A Pakistani pilgrim transported to his hotel where he will undergo a three-day mandatory quarantine before he is allowed to perform Umrah. (Supplied)
Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah
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A view of the Grand Mosque for the hotel room of a Pakistani pilgrim Musadaq Malik. (Photo courtesy: Umair Mushtaq)
Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah
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Pakistani pilgrims Umair Mushtaq and Hafiz Talha Usman arrive at a hotel in Makkah on Monday. (Photo courtesy: Umair Mushtaq)
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Updated 03 November 2020

Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah

Pakistani pilgrims feeling ‘blessed’ as they arrive in Makkah for Umrah
  • Saudi authorities praised for making foolproof arrangements to keep virus at bay

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani pilgrims arriving in Saudi Arabia this week for Umrah said they felt blessed to be among the few hundred foreigners performing the holy ritual, following a loosening of travel bans to check the spread of coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia closed its borders in February to foreign Umrah pilgrims and, in March, stopped its own citizens and residents from taking part in order to contain the spread of the virus. In July, the Kingdom allowed a limited number of domestic pilgrims to perform Hajj.

Umrah can be performed at any time of the year in contrast to Hajj, which has specific dates according to the Islamic lunar calendar. “I am feeling blessed as I was waiting for this moment for the last seven months,” Pakistani pilgrim Umair Mushtaq, who is leading a group of 38, told Arab News from Makkah.

He praised the arrangements ministries had made for pilgrims at Jeddah airport.

Saudi authorities have made arrangements according to WHO instructions.

Musadaq Malik




Pakistani pilgrims arrive at hotels to undergo a three-day quarantine before they are allowed to perform Umrah. (Photos/Supplied)

“The Saudi Ministry of Hajj gave us very good protocol. They are providing us food in the (hotel) room for the first three days, which is the mandatory period of quarantine.”

Pilgrims have to take a coronavirus test after three days before they are allowed into the Grand Mosque to perform Umrah.

I am feeling blessed as I was waiting for this moment for the last seven months.

Umair Mushtaq

“I feel out of this world,” Musadaq Malik said after arriving in Makkah on the first flight carrying Pakistani pilgrims. “Only a few hundred people got this chance of performing Umrah out of the total 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. I don’t have words to explain my feelings. I am waiting anxiously for the remaining two days to pass so that we can finally perform Umrah and offer prayers in the Grand Mosque.”

He thanked Saudi authorities for their welcome at Jeddah airport. “They have made arrangements according to WHO (World Health Organization) instructions,” he added.

Sajid Masood, Pakistan’s director of Hajj in Jeddah, said that Saudi Arabia had changed all protocols so that pilgrims could observe coronavirus precautions at airports.

“The arrangements are very impressive and they (Saudis) have given a warm welcome to Pakistani pilgrims at Jeddah airport,” Masood said. “I myself visited the hotel where Pakistani pilgrims are staying and it is completely disinfected.”

He said authorities had also installed thermal gates at various places to check the spread of coronavirus.

 


Saudi TV says missile or drone intercepted over Riyadh

Saudi TV says missile or drone intercepted over Riyadh
Updated 23 January 2021

Saudi TV says missile or drone intercepted over Riyadh

Saudi TV says missile or drone intercepted over Riyadh
  • Social media users posted video of what appeared to be an explosion in the air over Riyadh
  • The Houthis did not immediately acknowledge launching a missile or a drone toward Riyadh

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia said Saturday it intercepted an apparent missile or drone attack over its capital, Riyadh, amid the kingdom’s yearslong war against neighboring Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
Social media users posted video of what appeared to be an explosion in the air over Riyadh. Saudi state TV quoted authorities in the kingdom acknowledging the interception.
The Houthis did not immediately acknowledge launching a missile or a drone toward Riyadh.
The Houthis have held Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, since September 2014. Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a war against them in March 2015 in support of Yemen’s internationally recognized government.
The war has been mired in a stalemate for years. Riyadh has been targeted in sporadic missile attacks in that time, while the Houthis also have launched missile and drone strikes.
Western experts, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. say Iran has supplied arms, including ballistic missiles to the Houthis. Iran denies that, though devices in the weapons link back to Tehran.