ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s religious affairs ministry has decided to send additional Hajj assistants to the holy city of Madinah to deal with the problems of pilgrims and facilitate them throughout their spiritual journey, said an official statement released on Friday.
The Saudi authorities reinstated Pakistan’s pre-pandemic Hajj quota of 179,210 pilgrims and scrapped the upper age limit of 65 in January. About 80,000 Pakistani pilgrims are expected to perform the annual Islamic pilgrimage under the official scheme while the rest will be facilitated by private tour operators.
The religious affairs ministry, which has been overseeing Hajj-related arrangements, held a meeting on Thursday to evaluate the performance of different departments helping the pilgrims.
“During the meeting, the performance of all departments involved in Hajj operations was discussed, while the problems faced by the pilgrims were carefully reviewed,” the statement said.
“It was decided that more experienced Hajj assistants should be sent from Makkah to Madinah to facilitate the pilgrims arriving there from Pakistan.”
The statement added the religious affairs minister had written a detailed letter to the director-general of Hajj in Saudi Arabia, informing him of the decisions made during the meeting.
The ministry also issued instructions to all the officials to stay close to the pilgrims and go out of their way while addressing their problems.
“On the other hand, a warning has been issued to assistants and the ministry staff, who are not showing interest in performing their duties, that they will be asked to immediately return to Pakistan,” the statement added.
Hajj is an obligatory religious ritual for adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of carrying it out. It involves visiting the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah at least once in a lifetime to perform the annual Muslim pilgrimage that takes place in Dhu Al-Hijjah, the last month of the lunar Islamic calendar.