Over 20,000 Pakistani pilgrims return home from Hajj

“[The returnees include] 9,000 from the government quota and 5,000 who were using services offered by private tour and Hajj operators,” Imran Siddiqui, MRA spokesman said in a statement. (Ministry of Religious Affairs/Twitter)
Updated 22 August 2019
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Over 20,000 Pakistani pilgrims return home from Hajj

  • 110,000 others are still in Makkah
  • Specially designated flights to bring the Hajjis home will continue until September 15

ISLAMABAD: More than 20,000 pilgrims returned to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia since August 17, 2019 after completing the Hajj pilgrimage, the Ministry of Religious Affairs said in a statement released on Wednesday.
“[The returnees include] 14,000 from the government quota and 6,000 who were using services offered by private tour and Hajj operators,” Imran Siddiqui, MRA spokesman said in a statement, adding that 100,000 others are still in Makkah.
He added that special flights – which began on August 17 to bring the 200,000 pilgrims back – will continue until September 15.
“Elaborate arrangements have been made on Pakistan’s 10 airports to welcome the pilgrims on their return,” Siddiqui said, adding that this year, major airports in the country had also stocked up on Zamzam water – as part of an initiative by the Kingdom – to distribute among pilgrims upon their arrival home.
Pakistan’s Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Noor-ul-Haq Qadri lauded the Kingdom’s arrangements and hospitality extended to pilgrims during Hajj this year.
“We are thankful to King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi ministries of Interior, Hajj and also the governor of Makkah for the best arrangements for Hajj this year,” Qadri said in a statement on August 15.
For the first time this year, a pre-immigration pilot program was launched at the Islamabad International Airport as part of Saudi’s Road to Makkah project which Pakistan had been included in on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s request.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had made the announcement during his historic visit to Islamabad in February this year.
The initiative was aimed at facilitating Hajj pilgrims by way of a faster immigration process which helped them save up to 10 hours of waiting time on their arrival in Saudi Arabia.


Pakistan’s government and people condemn attacks on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 15 September 2019
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Pakistan’s government and people condemn attacks on Saudi oil facilities

  • High level members of political parties call on world community to stand with Saudi Arabia during attacks on its sovereignty
  • Pakistan’s has strong people-to-people ties with Saudi Arabia, with public sentiment one of shock and horror

ISLAMABAD: Sentiment and support for Saudi Arabia remained high in Pakistan, a day after attacks on two Saudi oil facilities in the kingdom’s Eastern province caused widespread fear and damage, and which official statements in Pakistan described as acts of sabotage.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Chairman, Raja Zafarul Haq, told Arab News on Saturday that the country was ready to safeguard Saudi Arabia’s security and sovereignty.
“Pakistan is ready to take any step for the safety and security of the Kingdom,” he said and added that countries who “claim to be friends of Saudi Arabia should stand by it” to stop such attacks on its sovereignty. 
Latif Khosa, former governor of Punjab province and a central leader of Pakistan Peoples Party, shared the same views, and urged world powers to come out in support of Saudi Arabia.
“World powers should support Saudis against such militant groups,” he said.
In Pakistan, a Muslim majority country of 208 million people with close political and people-to-people ties with Saudi Arabia, the sentiment from the general public was one of shock and horror. 
“We condemn the attack on Saudi Arabia,” said 38-year-old Asif Ali, a technician. “It’s our holy land and must be defended by the entire Muslim Ummah at all costs.”
“This attack is highly condemnable. The Saudi oil company must be protected and the world community should help eliminate such militants,” a telecom professional, Ammar Hyder, 40, told Arab News.
The country’s foreign ministry said in an official statement on Saturday that the country “reiterates its full support and solidarity with the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against any threat to its security and territorial integrity.”