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No Immigration Formalities for Pilgrims at Jeddah, Madinah Airports

Dedicated Immigration Counters Set Up at Karachi Airport to Facilitate Umrah, Hajj Journeys

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) – In a significant development aimed at streamlining the travel experience for Pakistani pilgrims, Jinnah International Airport in Karachi has been integrated into Saudi Arabia’s ‘Road to Makkah’ project. This initiative will eliminate immigration checks upon arrival at the airports of Jeddah and Madinah, with immigration procedures instead being conducted by Saudi authorities at the point of departure.

To facilitate this process, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has allocated space for two dedicated immigration counters for Saudi immigration officials at Karachi’s primary airport. Pilgrims embarking on Umrah or Hajj will now undergo immigration clearance in Karachi, enabling them to proceed directly to their accommodations upon landing in the holy cities.

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Gulzar Soomro, the director of Hajj in Karachi, announced that the inaugural ‘Road to Makkah’ flight from Karachi is scheduled to depart on May 9. This flight will carry 16,281 pilgrims from Karachi and an additional 1,000 pilgrims from Sukkur, all traveling under the government’s Hajj scheme.

Moreover, Soomro revealed that 2,200 pilgrims from Quetta will also depart from Karachi as part of the ‘Road to Makkah’ project, further underscoring the initiative’s significant impact on facilitating religious travel from Pakistan.

In a commendable move, the Hajj director stated that the Pakistani government will bear the cost of plastic wrapping for pilgrims’ belongings, ensuring the safety and security of their possessions throughout their spiritual journey.

The ‘Road to Makkah’ project, a collaboration between Saudi Arabia and various countries with significant Muslim populations, aims to enhance the overall experience for pilgrims by streamlining immigration procedures and reducing travel time. This initiative is expected to be warmly welcomed by the Pakistani Muslim community, reflecting the government’s commitment to serving the needs of its citizens undertaking religious pilgrimages.

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