ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Hajj mission on Tuesday established a central control room in Makkah to facilitate Pakistani pilgrims and address their concerns, a spokesperson for the Pakistani religious affairs ministry said.
Saudi Arabia has reinstated Pakistan’s pre-pandemic Hajj quota, allowing 179,210 pilgrims to participate in this year’s pilgrimage. It also lifted the upper age limit of 65 years. Around 80,000 Pakistanis will perform Hajj through the government scheme, while the rest will use private tour operators.
According to the Pakistani religious affairs ministry, over 40,000 Pakistanis have arrived in Saudi Arabia for the annual pilgrimage since the government initiated a special flight operation on May 21. After concluding its flight operation to Madinah, direct Hajj flights from Pakistan’s Islamabad to Saudi Arabia’s Makkah province started on Monday morning.
“The Pakistan Hajj mission established a main control room in Makkah to ensure the smooth conduct of Hajj operations and address issues faced by Pakistani pilgrims under one roof,” Muhammad Umer Butt, the spokesperson for the religious affairs ministry, told Arab News over the phone from Makkah.
He said the main control room would oversee all arrangements and address the concerns of Pakistani pilgrims.
“The control room will manage transportation from Jeddah airport to Makkah, as well as other logistics in Makkah and Madinah such as residence management, medical facilities, food, and other necessities,” he said.
The office would also maintain communication with Saudi authorities, the Pakistani consulate in Jeddah, and the Pakistani Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Butt said various departments had been established within the central control room to quickly resolve issues faced by the pilgrims.
“These departments included residence management, provision of medical facilities, Haram guides and helpers for pilgrim guidance, and a call center to receive and record complaints for prompt resolution of issues faced by the pilgrims,” Butt said.
All the pilgrims, he said, were given phone numbers for the call center.
“The center is fully computerized” Butt said, “and complaints are swiftly forwarded to the respective departments through the online system.”