Hajj organizers face accommodation crisis

Appeal to govt to take up issue with Saudi Arabia on urgent basis

Ehtisham Mufti May 14, 2024
One million pilgrims from across the globe amassed on Thursday in the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia to perform the initial rites of the Hajj. PHOTO: AFP


Pakistan's Hajj organizers are facing issues with securing accommodation for Pakistani pilgrims in the designated zones at Mina and Arafat for the upcoming Hajj.

"The Hajj season is approaching, but we have still not been able to secure space for our pilgrims," said Muhammad Nadeem Sharif, the former chairman of the Travel Agents Association of Pakistan and the Hajj Organizers Association of Pakistan.

Sharif, who was speaking to The Express Tribune via phone from Saudi Arabia, said this situation necessitates the government's attention.

He said a large number of private Hajj organizers from Pakistan are currently present in Saudi Arabia to make arrangements for pilgrims, but they are encountering severe difficulties in acquiring space at designated zones in Mina and Arafat.

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"Saudi tour companies claim to be awaiting confirmation of availability from the Saudi authorities. But in the event of unavailability, they will have no option but to return the funds received from Pakistani Hajj organizers, creating an extraordinary crisis for us and the pilgrims."

Sharif emphasized the great spiritual importance of the Hajj rituals for millions of Muslims worldwide and stressed the necessity to make every possible effort to facilitate those eager to fulfill this sacred duty.

He urged Pakistan's Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Chaudhry Salik Hussain to prioritize the urgent resolution of this issue considering the shortage of time. He also called for immediate discussions with Saudi Arabia's Minister of Hajj Tawfiq bin Fawzan on this matter.

Sharif further appealed to the Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malki, to swiftly address this crucial matter diplomatically so that private Hajj organizers can provide the best services to Pakistani pilgrims, ensuring an easy and secure performance of the Hajj obligation.


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