In a significant move aimed at enhancing the experience of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have recently inked a groundbreaking agreement. The agreement, spearheaded by Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, sets forth comprehensive measures to increase flight frequency between the two nations and reduce costs associated with pilgrimages.
Minister Al-Rabiah, along with a high-ranking Saudi delegation, embarked on a four-day visit to Pakistan, signaling the deepening ties between the two countries. The agreement outlines plans to significantly boost the number of flights connecting Saudi Arbaia and Pakistan, making the journey for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims more accessible and convenient. Moreover, the agreement addresses a longstanding concern by reducing the costs incurred by Pakistani pilgrims, a move that is expected to make the pilgrimage more affordable and accessible to a larger number of individuals.
One of the highlights of this collaborative effort is the inauguration of the Nusuk Exhibition in Karachi. This platform revolutionizes the pilgrimage experience by simplifying procedures for pilgrims and granting them the freedom to choose accommodations and services. Minister Al-Rabiah emphasized that the Nusuk platform will expedite the issuance of Umrah visas within 24 hours and extend visa periods from 30 to 90 days. This extension allows Pakistani pilgrims to explore not only the holy sites but also the tourist, historical, and cultural attractions of Saudi Arabia.
Minister Al-Rabiah reiterated the deep-rooted historical relations between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, cultivated under the guidance of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. These diplomatic ties have led to a remarkable increase in the number of Umrah pilgrims from Pakistan, surpassing the one-million mark last year. The discussions during the visit also explored the potential expansion of Pakistan’s Hajj quota, contingent upon the outcomes of the latest census.
The meetings between the officials of both nations extended beyond immediate agreements, delving into plans for improving facilities for pilgrims and the prospective extension of the Makkah Road project to other cities in Pakistan. The Saudi delegation engaged with key figures, including the President, Caretaker Prime Minister, and the Chief of Army Staff, in fruitful discussions that underlined the shared commitment to further enhance bilateral relations.
Upon their arrival, Minister Al-Rabiah was warmly received by Aneeq Ahmed, the Minister of Religious Affairs, and Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Al-Maliki. The reception underscores the mutual enthusiasm for strengthening ties and fostering meaningful collaborations.
As Saudi Arabia and Pakistan embark on this new chapter of cooperation, the joint efforts to enhance the pilgrimage experience hold the promise of making Hajj and Umrah Packages accessible, memorable, and transformative for pilgrims from Pakistan. The agreement not only streamlines logistical aspects but also reaffirms the enduring friendship between the two nations.