'Road to Makkah' project formally launched at Karachi airport

Project formally inaugurated, marking a milestone in Hajj pilgrimage facilitation

Our Correspondent May 13, 2024


The "Road to Makkah" project was formally inaugurated at Karachi airport, marking a milestone in Hajj pilgrimage facilitation. The inaugural ceremony also witnessed the departure of the 1st Hajj flight of Saudi Airlines from Jinnah International Terminal to Medina, carrying intending pilgrims embarking on their spiritual journey.

Among those present at the inaugural ceremony Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori, Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Saeed Ahmed Al Maliki, and Chairman of Saudi Immigration and Passport Lt Gen Sulaiman bin Abdulaziz Al Yahya, who jointly cut the ribbon at the international lounge of the airport.

While speaking at the ceremony, Lt Gen Al Yahya said that the introduction of new technical and artificial intelligence services were aimed at enhancing the Road to Makkah experience.

Ambassador Al Maliki emphasided the streamlined immigration process for Pakistani pilgrims at Karachi airport, ensuring a hassle-free journey to Saudi Arabia.

During the ceremony, Governor Tessori extended an invitation to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to visit Sindh, reflecting the strong bilateral ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The event was attended by Secretary of Religious Affairs Dr Syed Attaur Rehman, Hajj Director Syed Imtiaz Ali Shah, and other officials from both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Ambassador Al Maliki reiterated the longstanding brotherly relationship between the two nations, underscoring the inclusion of Karachi airport in the Road to Makkah project as a testament to this bond.

In his address, Governor Tessori highlighted the benefits of the project, stating that 35,500 pilgrims from Karachi would benefit from the streamlined process this year. He also expressed optimism regarding Pakistan's trade agreements with Saudi Arabia, citing potential investments worth $5 billion, which would contribute to the country's economic prosperity.

Lt Gen Al Yahya elaborated the objectives of the Road to Makkah initiative, highlighting its aim to expedite immigration procedures and provide enhanced services to pilgrims from various countries, including Pakistan.

With the introduction of new technical and artificial intelligence services, including electronic visas and mobile fingerprint authentication, the Makkah Road initiative seeks to optimise the Hajj experience for all intending pilgrims.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2024.


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