JEDDAH: Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Khursheed Ahmed Shah signed the Hajj Agreement 2013 with Saudi Minister for Hajj Dr Bandar bin Mohammad al Hijjar in Jeddah on Wednesday.
The minister was accompanied by a team comprising senior Pakistani functionaries.
Earlier, Shah held a meeting with Dr al Hajjar and expressed gratitude to King Abdullah, Prince Salman and the Saudi Hajj Ministry for the improvement and upgrading of the Umrah and Hajj experiences of pilgrims.
The number of Pakistani pilgrims is expected to have increased by 10,000 over the previous year.
Some important features of the Hajj Agreement 2013 include:
– A contingent of 1790 Pakistan Khuddam ul Hujjaj and members of the Medical Mission, will arrive from Pakistan to serve the Pakistani Hajj pilgrims.
– Around 40,000 pilgrims will arrive in Madina Munawwarah, directly from Pakistan.
– First Hajj flight will reach Saudi Arabia on September 7, 2013, while the last Hajj Flight will reach KSA on October 9, 2013.
– Post Hajj flight operations will begin with the departure of first Hajj flight from KSA to Pakistan on October 19, 2013.
– Hajj visas will be issued to pilgrims holding digital international passports only.
– Pilgrims will be allowed to carry specially prepared Zamzam cans packed and supplied by Khadim ul Haramain Project for supply of Zamzam water (holy water).
– All the airlines that have licences to operate inside KSA, have offices in Saudi Arabia and are approved by the Saudi Arabian Civil Aviation Authority will be responsible for transporting Pakistani Hajj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.