ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday formally inaugurated the 'Road to Makkah' project at the Islamabad airport and saw off Hajj pilgrims travelling to the Saudi Arabia on a PIA flight.
Under the project, the process of customs clearance of pilgrims is being completed at Pakistani airports before their departure for Hajj to prevent them from facing inconvenience at Saudi airports.
The prime minister was accompanied by Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan and Saudi Immigration Director General Maj Gen Suleman Abdul Aziz.
During the recent visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to Islamabad, the prime minister had requested him to include Pakistan in the Road to Makkah project.
Hajj flights under 'Road to Makkah' project commence
Responding to the request, the Saudi authorities announced that immigration formalities for the Pakistani pilgrims would be performed in their country.
The pilot project of the Road to Makkah programme has started from the Islamabad airport and will be extended to other airports of the country in subsequent years.
The prime minister visited the Saudi immigration counter and observed the facilities being provided to the passengers.
He also discussed the performance of the Saudi immigration staff with the passengers. He said the completion of the customs process in Pakistan would benefit the pilgrims as they would not have to wait for six hours at the Saudi airports.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran discussed the steps to improve the arrangements at the airports.
The prime minister said the government was focusing on providing facilities to the Pakistanis living abroad as well as investors and tourists coming to the country.
He instructed the authorities concerned to ensure the provision of international standard facilities at the airports.