First PIA Hajj flight leaves for Saudi Arabia

KARACHI: Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah on Sunday said all out efforts have been made to provide better services and facilities to the intending pilgrims. He was talking to media after giving a send-off to 328 intending pilgrims, at Hajj Terminal, Karachi International Airport here. The first PIA Hajj flight PK-1103 from Karachi, with 328 intending pilgrims onboard departed here on Sunday. The federal minister said the accommodations for the intending pilgrims have been arranged near Haram-e-Sharif while the transportation facility has also been enhanced two-folds.

Those intending pilgrims, who would be housed in one building, would leave here by the same flight, he said. The minister said the female intending Hajj pilgrims would not be allowed to travel without veil (Hijaab), while on violation the PIA would be fined 5,000 Saudi Riyal. He advised the intending pilgrims to carry only those items in their luggage, which have been allowed by the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Khursheed Shah called upon the intending pilgrims to pray for betterment of the country with their first sight of Khana-e-Kaaba. The federal minister directed the Customs Department officials to provide all necessary facilities to the intending pilgrims. He said the government has entered into an agreement with the Saudi government and all female intending pilgrims must use a veil (Hijaab), otherwise they would not be allowed to travel.

He told the media that a dispensary has been set up in each building while the number of doctors and para-medical staff has also been increased. The last flight of the intending pilgrims from Pakistan would leave on Oct 30, he said. Director Hajj Karachi Abdul Sattar Samtio, Deputy Director General Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Muhammad Junaid Siddiqi, Director Airport Services Muhammad Hanif and other notables were also present on the occasion. – dailytimes