‘Smart Hajj’ services to improve pilgrims’ experience

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A team of Saudi officials check travel documents for Hajj pilgrims at Islamabad International Airport. The Saudi team installed a pre-immigration system at the airport to facilitate Pakistani travellers flying to Makkah and Madinah this year, under the Road to Makkah Project. July 4, 2019. (Photo Courtesy – Saudi Embassy)
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Pakistani pilgrims wait to pass security in Jeddah on Monday, June 17, 2019. (AFP/File)
Updated 09 October 2019

‘Smart Hajj’ services to improve pilgrims’ experience

  • Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah (MHU) is undergoing digital transformation in cooperation with leading technology companies, deputy minister says
  • To facilitate Pakistani pilgrims, KSA added six new languages, including Urdu, for better understanding of speeches and instructions

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has said that the first phase of the “Smart Hajj” initiative helped in the movement, transportation, and safety of pilgrims during Hajj 2019.
Dr. Abdulfattah Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, and Dr. AbdulRahman Aljadhai, CEO of Elm Co., signed two MoUs to develop and operate the electronic platform for subsistence, health, and environment.
Dr. Mashat added that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah (MHU) is undergoing a digital transformation in cooperation with leading technology companies to promote the concept of using smart solutions to provide high-quality services for the pilgrims.
“It will contribute to improving and enriching pilgrims’ experience in the Kingdom as well as achieve one of the main goals of Saudi Vision 2030,” Dr. Mashat said during a press briefing at GITEX 2019.
“The MHU, in accordance with the instructions and guidance of the Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Mohammad Salih Bentin, has made many strategic partnerships with the private sector to improve the quality of services and the development of ‘Smart Hajj’ solutions, including the signing of MoUs last year with SAP in the field of technology, digital infrastructure, cloud computing, geospatial cloud computing platforms, and smart cards to improve services,” he said.
Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, chief planning and strategy officer at the MHU, said: “Our Smart Hajj ensures that millions of pilgrims from around the world are transported quickly, easily and safely to religious sites on set schedules.”
The “Smart Hajj” initiative documents pilgrims using Internet, geospatial and camera analytics, along with data from the pilgrim experience mobile feedback platform in real-time.
The MHU is one of the participants of GITEX 2019, an annual technological event in Dubai and is showcasing its latest technologies in serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims.
Pakistani nationals usually constitute the third largest group – after Saudis and Indonesians – for the pilgrimage every year, with 200,000 traveling to the Kingdom this year.
In a bid to facilitate pilgrims from Pakistan, authorities at the two holy mosques in Saudi Arabia added six new regional languages, including Urdu, for better communication.
In addition to Urdu, all lectures, speeches, and instructions will now be available in Pashto, Punjabi, and Balochi as well.


PML-N’s Maryam Sharif admitted to Services Hospital

Updated 23 October 2019

PML-N’s Maryam Sharif admitted to Services Hospital

  • Maryam went to the medical facility to see her father whose platelet count dropped to a drastically low level
  • The party’s information secretary in Punjab claims Maryam undergoing medical checkup herself

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, Maryam Sharif, was admitted to the Services Hospital after she met her ailing father at the same medical facility on Wednesday, confirmed Uzma Bokhari, PML-N’s information secretary in Punjab, while talking to Arab News.
“Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s condition is not well and she is undergoing a medical checkup,” Bokhari said. “She will stay at the hospital tonight.”
Maryam had gone to the medical facility to see her father who was shifted there on Monday on the request of his physician, Dr. Adnan Khan, after his platelet count dropped to an alarmingly low level.
Soon after he was shifted to the medical facility, Nawaz Sharif’s blood test was done to see if he was suffering from dengue, but the report was clear.
While his condition was said to have improved after transfusion of platelets, doctors could not diagnose the reason behind the problem.
His daughter, Maryam, was allowed to see her father at the hospital on Wednesday after her party sought special permission for that purpose from the Punjab Home Department.
While the local media initially claimed she was allowed to stay with Sharif for an hour, there was much speculation about the health of the country’s former prime minister after it turned out that she was going to stay at the medical facility for the night.
Reports also indicate that the hospital authorities have summoned specialists from Karachi and Islamabad to examine Nawaz Sharif and diagnose his medical condition.