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To facilitate Haj, Umrah pilgrims: ‘Road to Makkah’ project to be extended to Karachi, Lahore airports: Saudi minister

By Muhammad Anis
September 23, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Minister for Haj and Umrah Tawfig bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah on Friday said the ‘Road to Makkah’ project will be extended to Karachi and Lahore international airports to facilitate thousands of Pakistani pilgrims during the next Haj season.

He was talking to Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Aneeq Ahmed at a meeting in Riyadh on Friday. Ambassador of Pakistan in Saudi Arabia Ahmad Farooq and Deputy Ambassador Moazzam Khan were also present.

Both sides discussed the matters relating to arrangements and facilities to be provided to Pakistani pilgrims, including flights schedule, accommodation, transport, meal and others.

The Saudi minister at present, the facility of ‘Road to Makkah’ is available at the Islamabad International Airport, adding that as per this arrangement, the special Saudi teams perform immigration, customs and luggage security services at the Islamabad International Airport.

He said now the extension of the same facility to the airports in Karachi and Lahore would facilitate more Pakistani pilgrims.

“We are considering extension of the ‘Road to Makkah’ facility to Karachi and Lahore and the same will be extended further to other airports also,” the Saudi minister said.

The Saudi minister said the Pakistani pilgrims would be provided better accommodation at Makaatib in Mina and would be extended complete cooperation by the Saudi government.

He said that the Saudi government had also asked 80 countries to minimise the number of private tour operators, saying that every operator should accommodate at least 2,000 pilgrims.

The Saudi minister visited Pakistan last month and held meetings with the caretaker prime minister, his Pakistani counterpart and others.