On Saturday, Caretaker Religious Affairs Minister Aneeq Ahmed traveled to Saudi Arabia to finalize plans for the annual Hajj pilgrimage and attend an international conference hosted by the kingdom.
Hajj is a mandatory pilgrimage for financially and physically capable adult Muslims to Makkah at least once in their lifetime. Pakistan, with one of the largest Hajj quotas globally (179,210 pilgrims), sees a significant number traveling to Saudi Arabia for Umrah throughout the year.
The official statement about Minister Aneeq Ahmed’s trip mentioned that he would have crucial meetings to review and finalize Hajj arrangements. He is also scheduled to participate in the Global Hajj Conference organized by Saudi Arabia in Jeddah.
In November of the previous year, Minister Ahmed had expressed the government’s commitment to improving facilities for Pakistani Hajj pilgrims. He specifically mentioned plans to expand the Makkah Route Initiative, initially limited to Islamabad, to Karachi in 2024.
This initiative aims to simplify the process for pilgrims by allowing them to complete all necessary immigration formalities at their local airports in Pakistan before starting the Hajj pilgrimage.