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- Dubai 04:00 05:25 12:19 15:41 19:08 20:33
The first batch of Pakistani Hajj pilgrims arrived in the holy city of Madinah on Sunday, the Pakistani religious affairs ministry said, hours after the first Hajj flights left the country for Saudi Arabia.
This year, Saudi Arabia has reinstated Pakistan’s pre-pandemic Hajj quota of 179,210 pilgrims and scrapped the upper age limit of 65. Around 80,000 Pakistani pilgrims are expected to perform Hajj this year under the government scheme, while the rest will be facilitated by private tour operators, according to the authorities.
Members of the Pakistani Hajj mission and Saudi officials welcomed the first batch of Pakistani pilgrims upon arrival at the accommodations reserved for them in the holy city of Madinah, where they would stay for around a week.
“After staying in Madinah for eight days, Pakistani pilgrims leave for Makkah,” the Pakistani religious affairs ministry said in a statement.
Hajj is an obligatory religious ritual for adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable, which involves visiting the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah at least once in their lifetime during the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar, known as Dhu Al-Hijjah.
Zia-ur-Rehman, Pakistan’s Hajj director in Madina, said best arrangements, including for food, had been made for the Pakistani pilgrims.
“Pakistani pilgrims must abide by the Saudi laws,” he urged.
Earlier on Sunday, three Hajj flights carrying more than 700 pilgrims left the Pakistani cities of Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad for Saudi Arabia as the South Asian country formally began its Hajj flight operation.
Another Hajj flight will depart from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad at around 9:15pm Pakistan time on Sunday night, according to authorities.
The last flight carrying Pakistani pilgrims would leave for Saudi Arabia on June 21, according to the Pakistani religious affairs ministry.
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