Holy journey: Pilgrims to Iran and Iraq assured full security

High-level meeting chaired by NSA and religious affairs minister promises Hajj-like facilities

Sehrish Wasif January 17, 2018
National Security Adviser (NSA) Lieutenant General (R) Nasser Janjua. PHOTO: FILE PHOTO

ISLAMABAD: The national security adviser (NSA) and the Balochistan government on Monday assured pilgrims willing to travel to Iran by road that they will be provided with the necessary security.

A proper plan for providing full security and accommodation facilities to the pilgrims was chalked out during a high-level meeting chaired by NSA Lt Gen (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua and Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf.

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The meeting – also attended by all provincial secretaries and representatives of law enforcement agencies – decided that the ministry would extend all facilities, just like it does during Hajj and Umrah, to the pilgrims who wish to travel to Iran and Iraq.

An official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that every year a large number of pilgrims, especially from the Shia community, gathered in Quetta to travel to Iran by road. He added that although the overall situation in Balochistan had shown signs of improvement, the law and order situation still remained fragile.

Several terrorist outfits including Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Da’ish are thought to be active in Balochistan due to which lives of innocent people living and travelling in the province remain at stake.

The official said that in view of the threat from terrorists outfits, the NSA and other officials from Balochsitan had decided to make all-out efforts to provide full security to the pilgrims during their stay and travel.

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Meanwhile, it was suggested during the meeting to dedicate a separate building equipped with all facilities to the pilgrims in Quetta. The meeting also decided that the pilgrims willing to travel by air or by train would also be facilitated, and the Gawdar Port might also be used for the purpose in the future.

The official said that in 2017, an estimated 150,000 pilgrims had gone to Iran and Iraq from Pakistan. He added that with each passing year the number of pilgrims was also increasing. “The day the government will ensure proper security and accommodation facilities to the pilgrims, it is expected that their number will double,” the official said.

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