Facilitating Hajj Pilgrims: Saudi Arabia's Route to Makkah Project

May 28, 2023


Facilitating Hajj Pilgrims: Saudi Arabia’s Route to Makkah Project

Shaeran Rufus

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Interior Minister, Dr. Nasser bin Abdul Aziz Al-Dawood, has reached Islamabad to participate in the signing ceremony of the agreement for the Route to Makkah project, as reported by the Pakistani interior ministry.

The Route to Makkah project is part of Saudi Arabia’s Guests of God Service Program, launched in 2019 under King Salman’s Saudi Vision 2030. The initiative aims to facilitate Hajj pilgrims by providing them with visas and services.

After reaching the Noor Khan air base, the interior minister received a warm welcome from Rana Sanaullah, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, signaling the commencement of his two-day visit to the nation. During the visit, the Saudi deputy interior minister would finalize the signing of the agreement.

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In the preceding year, Pakistani pilgrims availed themselves of the Makkah Route initiative for the second year in a row. The agreement for this program, which encompasses Malaysia, Indonesia, Morocco, and Bangladesh as well.

Furthermore, Saudi deputy interior minister has arranged meetings with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the federal minister for narcotics control, and the army chief, as confirmed by the interior ministry.

Know More: Safer Hajj: Govt Mandates Covid-19 Test for Pilgrims 2023

Hajj Quota

Saudi Arabia has reinstated Pakistan’s pre-pandemic Hajj quota, allowing 179,210 pilgrims and removing the age limit of 65. Around 80,000 Pakistani pilgrims will join the government program for Hajj, while private tour operators will assist others. Hajj flights from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia are set to begin on May 21, with the final flight departing on June 21.

What is Road to Makkah Project?

The “Road to Makkah” project is an initiative implemented by Saudi Arabia to enhance the experience of Hajj pilgrims. As part of the broader “Guests of God Service Program” under the Saudi Vision 2030, the project aims to streamline the pilgrimage journey by providing services. As well as facilities at pilgrims’ home countries’ airports. It includes issuing visas, simplifying immigration procedures, and offering amenities such as baggage handling and transportation arrangements.

The project’s goal is to improve efficiency, reduce congestion, and ensure a smoother pilgrimage process for pilgrims from participating countries. The project is focused on making the Hajj pilgrimage more accessible and comfortable for pilgrims.

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