Pakistani pilgrims, under Makkah Route Initiative, leave Karachi for Saudi Arabia

Saudi Gazette Report

KARACHI— Saudi Arabia has launched the Makkah Route Initiative for Pakistani pilgrims for this year’s Hajj at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi. This is the second airport in Pakistan to benefit from the initiative, which is part of Saudi Arabia’s expansion plans to serve the Hajj pilgrims.

A group of Pakistani pilgrims, under the Makkah Route Initiative, left the southern port city of Karachi for Saudi Arabia on Sunday. Senior Saudi and Pakistani officials were present to see off the pilgrims at the Karachi airport, which is the second embarkation point in Pakistan for the initiative. Those who arrived at Karachi airport included Lt. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Yahya, chairman of the initiative’s Supervisory Committee and director general of Saudi Passports, Muhammad Kamran Khan Tessori, governor of Sindh Province, and Nawaf Al-Maliki, Saudi ambassador to Pakistan.

The Saudi authorities have approved last month the expansion of the initiative to the Karachi airport after Islamabad International Airport continued to remain the only embarkation point under this scheme for several years since launch of the service for the Pakistani pilgrims. A total of 35,500 pilgrims will use the Karachi airport in their lifetime spiritual journey under this initiative for the upcoming Hajj. The rest of the pilgrims under the scheme will depart from the Islamabad airport.

Meanwhile, the first flight of pilgrims from Indonesia, under the Makkah Route Initiative, landed at Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah on Sunday. They left earlier Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta for Saudi Arabia. Launched by the Ministry of Interior in 2017, the Makkah Route Initiative aims to streamline and enhance the Hajj journey for pilgrims. A total of 617,756 pilgrims from seven countries have benefited from the initiative until last Hajj. These countries also include Indonesia, Morocco, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Turkey and Côte d’Ivoire.

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