This year, more than 50,000 Pakistani Hajj pilgrims will benefit from the ‘Road to Makkah’ initiative

On Friday, the Ministry of Religious Affairs disclosed that 26,000 Pakistani Hajj pilgrims benefited from the Makkah Route Initiative last year.

Following the inauguration of the project in Karachi, they aim to double this number. The initiative allows pilgrims to complete immigration procedures in their departure country, thereby avoiding long waits upon arrival in Saudi Arabia.

Introduced in 2019 to streamline the entry process for pilgrims, the Makkah Route Initiative has been extended to Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, as confirmed by Pakistani officials.

Secretary Religious Affairs Zulfiqar Haider and Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki inaugurated this year’s project at Islamabad International Airport. They announced that immigration and customs procedures for Hajj pilgrims departing from Islamabad would now take place in Islamabad itself, ensuring a smoother journey.

This year, approximately 179,210 Pakistanis will perform Hajj under government and private schemes, with flight operations scheduled to begin on May 9. Out of these pilgrims, 89,605 will travel under each scheme, with additional quotas allocated to sponsorship schemes.

Five airlines, including Pakistan International Airlines, Saudi Airlines, Airblue, Serene Air, and Air Sial, will operate 259 flights to transport around 68,000 intending pilgrims from eight major cities in Pakistan to Jeddah and Madinah under the government scheme.

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