Pakistan, Saudi Arabia sign Hajj Agreement 2020

Pakistan's Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony signs Hajj agreement in the holy city of Makkah with Saudi Hajj and Umrah Minister Dr. Mohammed Saleh bin Taher Benten on December 4th, 2019. (Photo courtesy: Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony)
Updated 05 December 2019

Pakistan, Saudi Arabia sign Hajj Agreement 2020

  • Pakistani delegation seeks to extend the “Road to Makkah” project to other cities of the country as well
  • The two sides agree to set up a joint committee to address any possible complaints of Pakistani pilgrims

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia reached Hajj Agreement 2020 in Makkah, an official handout circulated by the Ministry of Religious Affairs announced on Wednesday, adding that 200,000 Pakistani pilgrims would undertake their spiritual journey to Islam’s most sacred cities next year.

The agreement was signed by Pakistan’s Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri and Saudi Minister for Hajj and Umrah Dr. Mohammad Saleh bin Benten.




Pakistan's Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony signs Hajj agreement in the holy city of Makkah with Saudi Hajj and Umrah Minister Dr. Mohammed Saleh bin Taher Benten on December 4th, 2019. (Photo courtesy: Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony)

According to the press release, the Pakistani delegation demanded several facilities for their country’s pilgrims while interacting with the Saudi authorities.

It asked for an additional Hajj quota for Pakistan and said that the “Road to Makkah” project should be extended to other cities as well.

The official handout claimed that the Saudi minister described Pakistan’s participation in the scheme last year as “extremely successful.”

He continued that Pakistan’s request for additional Hajj quota would be taken up with the Kingdom’s higher authorities, though he also said there was limited space in Mina.

The two sides also agreed to set up a joint committee to address any possible complaints from the pilgrims related to Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat.

The Pakistani delegation will also hold official meetings with Saudi authorities on Thursday.


Police detain Pakistani activists protesting PTM leader’s arrest

Updated 28 January 2020

Police detain Pakistani activists protesting PTM leader’s arrest

  • Lawmaker Mohsin Dawar and other activists of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement arrested as they demonstrated in Islamabad
  • The protests were against Monday’s arrest of PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen who is now charged with ‘sedition’

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani police on Tuesday arrested activists and lawmakers protesting the arrest of the leader of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), local media said.

Lawmaker Mohsin Dawar, along with several activists of PTM, were taken into police custody as they demonstrated outside the National Press Club against Monday’s arrest of Manzoor Pashteen, the movement’s leader.

Local media footage and videos circulating on social media showed police arriving at the protest site and rounding up demonstrators. One video showed Dawar in a policeman’s chokehold as another shouted: “Take them away!”

Kohsar police Station House Officer (SHO) Akhtar Ali told local Dawn TV channel that fifteen member of the PTM, including Dawar, had been taken to Kohsar police station from outside the National Press Club in Islamabad.
Pashteen was arrested by police from Peshawar in the early hours of Monday on a number of charges, including “sedition,” a senior police official of Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa told Reuters.

PTM campaigns against alleged extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of Pashtuns and other ethnic minorities.

It emerged in 2018 after the killing of an ethnic Pashtun man by police in the port city of Karachi. That killing led to nationwide protests and turned the issue of alleged state violence against Pashtuns into a national debate.

The Pakistani military accuses the PTM of being funded by foreign enemies India and Afghanistan. The PTM denies foreign links.

Many of PTM’s supporters are ethnic Pashtuns who hail originally from areas bordering Afghanistan, which has been the center point of a long insurgency by Taliban and other militants and subsequent operations by the Pakistani military. Millions of people from the area have been displaced due to the operations.

Two members of the PTM, including Dawar, are elected lawmakers and were arrested under anti-terrorism laws and detained for close to four months after a deadly clash between troops and activists at a security post in northern Pakistan in May last year.