Returning pilgrims praise Saudi Arabia as Pakistan begins post-Hajj flight operation

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Pakistani pilgrims breeze through immigration counters at Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah as part of the “Makkah Route” initiative on July 5, 2019. (SPA)
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Pakistan’s post-Hajj flight operation to bring back over 200,000 pilgrims from Saudi Arabia through five hundred flights is scheduled to begin today (Saturday) (AFP / File)
Updated 18 August 2019

Returning pilgrims praise Saudi Arabia as Pakistan begins post-Hajj flight operation

  • The first Saudi flight carrying about 200 pilgrims landed in Karachi Saturday evening
  • Pilgrims can get details of their flight schedule by visiting

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: More than 200 Pakistani pilgrims were warmly received by their families as they returned to the country’s commercial capital Karachi on Saturday, praising Saudi authorities for managing the annual Muslim pilgrimage exceptionally well.
They also interacted with senior officials of civil aviation authority and religious affairs ministry who were interested to learn about their experiences and Hajj arrangements.
Pakistan began its post-Hajj flight operations on Saturday, as a Saudi airliner brought more than 200 passengers to the capital of southern Sindh province. The flight was followed by yet another Saudi Airline commercial jet to Peshawar. Two Pakistani aircrafts carrying pilgrims also landed at the Islamabad and Faisalabad airports. An Air Blue flight carrying pilgrims from Jeddah will also arrive in Lahore late on Saturday night.

Abdul Hameed Shaikh, 72, is among the 200 pilgrims who arrived in Karachi from Jeddah through a Saudi Airline flight on Saturday. Pakistan’s post-Hajj flight operation started on Saturday, August 7, 2019, to bring back 200,000 pilgrims who went to the Kingdom this year to perform Hajj. (AN Photo)

The post-Hajj flight operation will bring back over 200,000 pilgrims from Saudi Arabia through five hundred flights between August 17 and September 15, a civil aviation official, Zaffar Aitemad Siddiqui, told Arab News at the Karachi airport, adding that 107 flights would bring back about 50,000 pilgrims who had started their sacred journey from Karachi.
“We have provided maximum facilities to our pilgrims during their stay in Saudi Arabia and are hopeful that the post-Hajj flight operation will also remain smooth,” Imran Siddique, Ministry of Religious Affairs Spokesman, told Arab News from Makkah.
Three airlines, including Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Air Blue and Saudi Arabian Airlines, would participate in the Hajj flight operation to cover ten cities, including Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Multan, Faisalabad, Sukkur, and Sialkot.
“We have launched a special website,, for our pilgrims to get complete information about their flight schedule,” he said. “This will help avoid any confusion.”
During the Hajj in Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Religious Affairs had deployed a total of 187 ministry officials, 469 medical staff, 545 Pakistan Muavineen-e-Hujjaj (helpers) belonging to police and scouts to facilitate the pilgrims.

About 200 pilgrims arrived in Karachi from Jeddah through a Saudi Airline flight on Saturday, as Pakistan formally started its post-Hajj flight operation to bring back 200,000 pilgrims who had gone to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj this year (AN Photo)

More than 200,000 Pakistanis have performed Hajj this year, while around 30,000 pilgrims flying from Islamabad international airport benefited from pre-departure immigration facility under the ‘Road to Makkah’ project.
“We have made excellent arrangements to provide ease to the pilgrims and their families who would go to airports to receive their loved ones,” Siddiqui, the civil aviation official, said.
The PIA has already made arrangements for the provision of the holy water to pilgrims at small airports as well, including Sialkot, Faisalabad, Multan, and Quetta. Private airlines have also stocked Zamzam water at all the airports ahead of the arrival of post-Hajj flights.
Meanwhile, pilgrims said they were amazed to see Hajj arrangements in the Kingdom. “I had offered my last Hajj some twenty years ago. This time I saw a different world,” Dr. Shahida Nafees told Arab News.
“Both the Saudi and Pakistani authorities have tried to make this obligation easier for Muslims,” she continued, adding that she hoped the next time she visited the holy cities she would see even better arrangements.
Abdul Hameed Shaikh, 72, said before embarking upon the journey to Makkah and Madinah that he was worried that his poor health since it could make it difficult for him to perform the Hajj. “The authorities took extreme care of all elderly persons and proved that my worries were misplaced,” Shaikh told Arab News.
“It was an excellent experience. I want to thank Saudi and Pakistani authorities for that,” he said.

Arab News Japanese edition to launch in October

Updated 37 min 10 sec ago

Arab News Japanese edition to launch in October

  • Digital news service to be available in English and Japanese
  • Launch to coincide with Emperor enthronement ceremony

TOKYO: Arab News, the Middle East’s leading English language daily, is to launch a Japanese-language online edition as part of its ongoing global expansion.

The international edition will be the second under the Arab News brand, following the highly successful launch of the Pakistani edition. 

As a symbol of the cordial business, trading and cultural relations between the Kingdom and Japan, will commence coverage to coincide with the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito next month. It will be a 24-hour rolling news website comprising original material generated in Tokyo and translations of Arab News’ award-winning English content.

Faisal J. Abbas, Arab News editor-in-chief, announced the project at the G1 Global conference in Tokyo on Monday, September 16.

He said: ““As part of our more digital, more global direction; we are delighted to announce the launch of Arab News Japan. The news site will be available in both English and Japanese, with a content mix that blends original reporting from both the Middle East and Japan as well as a translated feed of some of our most important news and views. 

“We are also honored to coincide our launch with our coverage of the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito. We hope that our new service helps bring a better mutual understanding of both our rich cultures and become a trusted communication channel where our friends in japan can rely on us for credible information and insightful analysis,” he added.

Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners. A major part of Japan’s energy imports come from Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom imports manufactured goods and electronic equipment from Japan, and is a significant destination for Japanese financial investment.

Saudi Arabia officials are working with their Japanese counterparts on the formal handover for the G20 leaders’ summit, which will take place in the Kingdom next year, following the high success event held in Osaka, Japan, in June.

At that event, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman told Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe that Japan was a country dear to the hearts of all Saudis. “We will work together to prepare for the G20 summit 2020 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the Crown Prince said.

The prime minister praised the Kingdom’s progress in accordance with the Vision 2030 strategy and pointed to the keenness of the government of Japan and its readiness through public and private sectors to make further efforts and cooperation with the Kingdom.

Arab News is part of the regional publishing group Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG). It has been the English newspaper of record for Saudi Arabia and the region for over 40 years.