LAHORE: Caretaker Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Aneeq Ahmed has said that this year’s Hajj is set to be optimal for Pakistani pilgrims, offering unprecedented facilities.

He introduced a short-term Hajj facility for the first time, marking a notable milestone in the nation’s history.

While addressing the start of the training session for pilgrims at Darul Hajj Haji Camp on Wednesday, he announced that during Hajj, all women would receive Abayas, adorned with the Pakistani flag.

Selected through a transparent system, the minister said fortunate pilgrims were chosen via a draw, and their training began on February 12.

He said that Hajj pilgrims were the guests of Allah and a true ambassador of Pakistan, which would be facilitated with advance faculties.

He said that when he took charge of the ministry, it was made clear that in 2024, Pakistani pilgrims would be provided with the best facilities. This year’s Hajj would be exemplary for Pakistani pilgrims, offering facilities that were not available in the past.

The minister highlighted the comprehensive efforts made by the ministry regarding Hajj arrangements, collaborating with Saudi Arabia during a visit to assess the facilities, provided to pilgrims. He mentioned that accommodations, meals, and transportation, along with all basic necessities, had been standardized.

In response to a question regarding transportation facilities for Pakistani pilgrims in Saudi Arabia, he said that this year, there would be provision of trains along with buses for pilgrims.

Responding to another question, the minister said that for the first time in the country’s history, a short-term Hajj facility is being provided in Pakistan. Every pilgrim would be given a green suit-case containing a QR code to prevent any loss of belongings.

The Hajj pilgrims would also be provided with a free SIM containing 180 international calling minutes and 7GB data to facilitate easy communication with their loved-ones.

Additionally, for the first time this year, women in Pakistan would receive free Abayas, adorned with the Pakistani flag, contributing to the country’s identity.

Aneeq Ahmed urged Hajj pilgrims to pray for well-being, prosperity, and elevation of the nation during the pilgrimage rituals.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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