ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Hajj mission in Saudi Arabia has acquired land to accommodate its pilgrims at Old Mina near Jamrat this year, Director Hajj Makkah Sajid Manzoor Asadi told state-run media on Wednesday.
The tent city of Mina remains deserted throughout the year and comes to life only during the five days of each Hajj season when it is transformed into a vast encampment for pilgrims.
Situated 12 kilometers outside Makkah, it was in this city that Prophet Ibrahim spent the night before he was set to carry out an order by God to slaughter his son. As Prophet Ibrahim prepared to slaughter Ismaeel, God instructed him to sacrifice a sheep instead.
Muslims around the world slaughter sheep, cows and camels to feed the poor, marking Prophet Ibrahim’s supreme sacrifice.
“There are six Makatib [place of pilgrims] in Mina, we have got tents near Jamarat which will make it easier for all Pakistani Pilgrims to perform Hajj rituals together,” Asadi said.
Saudi Arabia has allotted Pakistan a quota of 81,132 pilgrims for the Hajj this year. Pakistani pilgrims are also availing the Makkah Route initiative which allows them to fulfil all immigration requirements at the airport of origin. This saves them several hours upon reaching the kingdom since they can just enter the country, having already gone through immigration at home.
Asadi thanked the Saudi government for including Pakistan in the Route to Makkah project, among five countries of the world.
“For the first time, Pakistani pilgrims are being provided ‘Home Check-In’ facility under Route to Makkah project of Saudi Government during their return to the homeland,” Asadi said, adding that under this facility, airline staff would pick up the luggage of each pilgrim from their residence and also issue boarding passes.
“This year, the Hajj Mission Makkah played an important role in providing this facility to Pakistani pilgrims under the Saudi Project during their arrival and departure,” he added.
He said pilgrims used to have to reach the airport sixteen hours before departure but now they have to arrive at the airport just six hours before flights.
Pakistan’s Director Hajj said due to an “effective” testing system, no Pakistani pilgrims had so far been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Over 55,700 Pak pilgrims have reached Saudi Arabia
More than 55,700 Pakistani pilgrims have reached Saudi Arabia to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage, said the Pakistani religious affairs ministry on Thursday, since the country launch a special flight operation on June 6.
Pakistan has been allotted a quota of 81,132 pilgrims for Hajj this year. Nearly 33,000 of them will benefit from a government scheme while the rest will be facilitated by private operators.
“Over 55,700 Hajj pilgrims have so far reached Hijaz-e-Muqaddas to perform the Hajj rituals from Pakistan including 33,000 pilgrims under the government and 22,000 under private Hajj Scheme,” the ministry said in a statement.
According to the ministry’s media cell in Makkah, the pre-Hajj flight operation will end on July 3 under the government scheme.
A large number of Pakistani pilgrims are availing the Makkah Route initiative this year which has allowed them to fulfil all immigration requirements at their airports of origin.
The initiative saves pilgrims several hours upon reaching the kingdom since they can just enter the country, having already gone through immigration at home.
Saudi Arabia will let up to one million people join the Hajj pilgrimage this year, expanding it to participants from outside the kingdom after two years of tight COVID-19 restrictions.
However, pilgrims this year must be under the age of 65 and fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.