ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is looking forward to export sacrificial animals every year ahead of Eidul Azha primarily to facilitate the demand of a huge number of Pakistani pilgrims.

An official privy to the development told The Express Tribune that talks are underway between Pakistani and Saudi governments for exporting sacrificial animals to Saudi Arabia ahead of Eidul Azha.

He said the issue was also discussed at the Hajj advisory committee meeting held in Makkah recently, considering the increase in the demand for sacrificial animals in Saudi Arabia both for the pilgrims and the Saudis.

This year, 1.6 million Muslims from across the globe would be performing Hajj out of which, 184,210 are Pakistani pilgrims — including those from the government Hajj scheme and private Hajj scheme.

“There is no doubt that it is a huge number, therefore, the demand of the sacrificial animals automatically increases in Saudi Arabia ahead of Eidul Azha and sometimes it becomes difficult to meet the demand,” said the official.

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The official shared the latest Hajj updates and said that so far 183,970 Pakistani pilgrims have reached Saudi Arabia out of which 107,351 are under the government Hajj scheme and the remaining are under the private tour operators.

“On August 18, intending pilgrims will start their journey towards Mina,” he said, adding that this time the majority of Pakistani pilgrims would be provided bunk beds at Mina.

The official claimed that this year, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony is making all-out efforts for providing comfortable accommodations, transportation facilities having wi-fi and three times quality food to the Pakistani pilgrims.

“This year efforts have been made to address all the shortcomings and issues which were faced by the pilgrims last year,” he said.