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Saudi delegation due in April for talks on ‘Road to Makkah’ facility

PESHAWAR: Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri said a high-level delegation of Saudi government would arrive in April for holding talks on provision of ‘Road to Makkah’ facility at the Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar airports.

He was addressing a media awareness workshop jointly organised by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Haj Organisation of Pakistan (HOP) at a local hotel here on Wednesday.

At present, the facility is only available at Karachi airport where pilgrims go through the immigration and customs checking once and then they would not have to pass through the same process after landing at airports in Saudi Arabia.

The minister said immigration and customs checking takes 8-10 hours for pilgrims at Saudi airports and if the agreement is reached with Saudi officials then pilgrims would not have to make long queues.

“We have 798 registered private Haj group operators and people should only apply through these groups,” Qadri advised.

A special SMS service (8331) has been launched through which the intending pilgrims could verify the authenticity of Haj group by sending its enrollment number on this number, he added.

The ministry of religious affairs has also developed five apps to facilitate the pilgrims with all the necessary information from starting their journey till performing Haj.

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