Over 17,000 pilgrims leave for Hajj under Road to Makkah project | The Express Tribune

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ISLAMABAD:

A total of 17,077 Hajj pilgrims went through immigration at the Islamabad International Airport under the Road to Makkah project.

‘Road to Makkah’ is a Saudi initiative aimed at the completion of Saudi immigration and customs-related formalities before the departure of the pilgrims to perform Hajj, at the Islamabad International Airport.

The purpose of the project is to save pilgrims from delays and inconveniences in arriving in Saudi Arabia.

According to a report issued by the Islamabad airport officials, 17,077 pilgrims left Islamabad for Saudi Arabia on 52 flights through the Road to Makkah project. The first flight of the project left on June 6 and the last on July 2.

According to the officials, under the project, 7,174 passengers went through immigration at the Islamabad airport and flew to Saudi Arabia on 21 PIA flights. A total of 6,189 pilgrims left after going through immigration on 17 flights of Saudi airline, 10 of private airline SereneAir and four of Airblue.

According to the officials, 3,714 pilgrims going for Hajj through private airlines were also provided immigration facility in Pakistan.

In June, the Ministry of Interior of Saudi Arabia launched the ‘Road to Makkah’ initiative for the year 2022 to facilitate Hajj pilgrims belonging to Pakistan and five other countries after much anticipation.

The initiative that also includes Malaysia, Indonesia, Morocco and Bangladesh this year was first launched in 2019.

In an official statement in June, the Saudi ministry said that the initiative aimed to receive the pilgrims and complete their procedures from their countries with ease.

It stated that in a meeting on Hajj 2022 under the project, Minister for Religious Affairs Mufti Abdul Shakoor and Saudi Arabia Ambassador Nawaf bin Saeed al-Maliki expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made for the pilgrims at the Islamabad airport.

The Saudi gazette said that the initiative starts with issuing the visa electronically and taking the vital characteristics, followed by passport procedures at the airport of the country of departure after the verification of health requirements.

The procedure includes coding and sorting the luggage to send to their place of residency in the kingdom.

Upon their arrival, it added, the pilgrims will move directly to buses to take them to their places of residence in Makkah and Madina with designated paths while the service authorities deliver their luggage to their places of residency.

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