First Haj flight to take off on 21st

The first flight for Hajj pilgrims will depart from Karachi and Islamabad to Saudi Arabia on May 21.

During a press conference discussing the preparations for Hajj, Minister Talha Mahmood acknowledged some delays in the facilities related to the arrangements.

Last year’s Hajj was relatively easier as 80,000 people performed the pilgrimage, whereas this year the number has increased to 175,000, he noted.

The minister cautioned that the upcoming Hajj might present challenges and advised pilgrims to be prepared for a potentially difficult experience. However, efforts are being made to minimize the hardships that may be encountered.

Minister Mahmood encouraged pilgrims to report any shortcomings in the arrangements. He shared that some pilgrims had expressed concerns at the Hajj camp regarding their financial capability to afford sacrificial animals. In response, the government is working to reduce the cost of sacrifice through a subsidized scheme.

As part of the scheme, the government will cover 720 riyals for the holy sacrifice on behalf of the pilgrims, he announced.

Providing further details on expenses, Minister Mahmood mentioned that in 2019, buildings in Makkah were rented for 2,600 riyals, whereas this year they are being rented for 2,100 riyals. He added that the travel cost was $1,000 last year, but it has decreased to $900 this year. Although the process of securing buildings should have been completed during Ramadan, it has now been finalized, he clarified.

Regarding the Road to Makkah initiative, Minister Talha explained that migration services will only be available at Islamabad airport, and approximately 26,000 pilgrims will be departing from the federal capital.

The minister emphasized that every pilgrim will receive proper training before embarking on the sacred journey; otherwise, their schedule will be adjusted accordingly. Additionally, he stated that each pilgrim will be provided with a free SIM card in Saudi Arabia.


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