Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Over 65,000 Hajj Pilgrims to Utilize ‘Road to Makkah’ Initiative This Year

This year’s Hajj pilgrimage is shaping up to be more convenient for over 65,000 Pakistani pilgrims, thanks to the Makkah Route Initiative’s expansion. Launched in 2019, this initiative allows pilgrims to complete immigration procedures at their departure airport in Pakistan, cutting down on the need for long checks upon arrival in Saudi Arabia.

Before, only Islamabad could benefit from this initiative. But now, Pakistani officials have successfully pushed for its expansion to Karachi, the country’s largest city. This expansion is set to make the entry process easier and reduce wait times for a larger number of pilgrims.

It’s interesting to note the breakdown of pilgrims using this initiative. About 41,000 pilgrims will go through the government’s Hajj scheme, while the remaining 24,000 will opt for private tour operators. Both Islamabad and Karachi airports will see a nearly equal number of pilgrims using this initiative, with 29,500 and 35,500 respectively.

This positive news comes as Saudi Arabia restores Pakistan’s pre-pandemic Hajj quota and removes the upper age limit. With Pakistan’s Hajj operations starting in May and the pilgrimage itself taking place in June, more than 81,000 Pakistani pilgrims are expected to take part this year.

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