RIYADH: The first batch of Hajj 2022 pilgrims from Pakistan arrived in Madinah on Wednesday through a dedicated “Makkah Route” lounge at Islamabad International Airport.
The “Makkah Route” initiative is part of the country's Guests of God Service Program, which King Salman inaugurated in 2019 as part of the Saudi Vision 2030.
It seeks to provide visitors to the holy sites with the finest possible services to help them perform their Hajj rituals easily and comfortably.
It is operating in Pakistan for the second consecutive year and also includes Malaysia, Indonesia, Morocco, and Bangladesh.
The Pakistani pilgrims were received at the airport by the Director of Passports of the Madinah region, Maj. Gen. Fahd Khalid Al-Otaibi, and representatives from partner entities.
The initiative also includes issuing visas, ensuring pilgrims’ biological characteristics and compliance with health requirements, and codifying and sorting luggage at airports in pilgrims’ home countries.
Saudi Arabia has allowed up to 1 million people to join the Hajj this year, inviting pilgrims from foreign countries for the first time after two years of COVID-19 restrictions saw the annual pilgrimage limited to residents of the Kingdom.
Pilgrims this year must be under 65 and fully vaccinated against coronavirus.