55% of govt scheme pilgrims in Saudi Arabia

GPS system being used for first time to track Pakistanis going from Madinah to Makkah

APP May 26, 2024
First pre-Hajj PIA Flight Operations PHOTO: APP


A month-long pre-Hajj flight operation, which started on May 9 to transport around 70,105 intending Pakistani pilgrims to the holy cities of Saudi Arabia under the government scheme, is continuing smoothly and according to schedule.

By Sunday, a total of 38,150 Pakistani pilgrims, constituting almost 54.35 per cent of the total, had reached Madinah and Makkah, official sources at the Pakistan Hajj Mission told APP.

By May 23, 146 flights from major cities of Pakistan had operated to the Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah, airlifting 34,407 intending pilgrims.

Since May 17, the Hajj Mission has been sending bus caravans of Pakistani pilgrims to Makkah after their eight-day stay in Madinah, during which they offered 40 prayers at Masjid-e-Nabvi (SAW).

So far, more than 23,464 Pakistani pilgrims have reached Makkah from Madinah, tracked under a real-time GPS system being utilized for the first time by Pakistan to ensure their timely and secure travel.

Read also: First PIA pre-Hajj flight departs from Karachi

“This innovative approach aims to ensure a seamless and timely journey for the pilgrims,” said Dr Shahid Ur Rehman Marth, in charge of the Madinah Departure Cell, in an interview with APP.

A dedicated team of highly skilled professionals is monitoring the 100 per cent movement of each bus caravan coming from Madinah, bringing Pakistani Hajj pilgrims to Makkah, the final convergence destination for the obligatory acts of Hajj starting from the 8th of Zilhajj.

Currently, around 80-85 buses operate daily between Madinah and Makkah, covering the 450-kilometer distance in approximately 8-9 hours, Dr. Shahid added.

He said the live monitoring enabled the team to track the journey, including stopovers at Mīqāt Dhu al-Ḥulayfah (Masjid ash-Shajarah) for entering the Ihram, and rest areas for prayer and refreshment.

In case of any breakdown, replacement buses are provided within half an hour to continue the journey uninterrupted, the head of the Madinah Departure Cell said.

Read: Guidelines issued for pilgrims as pre-Hajj flights begin

He expressed confidence that all Pakistani Hajj pilgrims who arrived in Madinah in the first leg of their spiritual journey would be transported to Makkah by June 1-2.

“The caravans are being dispatched in line with the sequence of their arrival dates in Madinah, under the single-route Hajj,” he elaborated.

All Pakistani pilgrims who arrived in Madinah are going to Makkah to perform the religious obligation of Hajj and will return to Pakistan from Jeddah.

The same procedure will be followed for those arriving in Makkah for Hajj, who will then visit Madinah before returning to their home countries.

From May 24 to June 9, 114 flights will operate to airlift around 34,422 Pakistanis from major cities to Jeddah. By Sunday, 4,424 Pakistani pilgrims had arrived at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah. This year, 179,210 Pakistanis will perform Hajj under both government and private schemes.


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