ISLAMABAD: The pre-departure immigration facility under the Road to Makkah Project inaugurated at the Islamabad International Airport on Thursday, 4 July, easing procedures for pilgrims before landing in Saudi Arabia.
The spokesman of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony said in a statement that under the first phase of the project, the customs and immigration process of Pakistani pilgrims would be completed at the Islamabad Airport thus saving them the 10 to 12-hour process at the Jeddah Airport.
A team of 51 Saudi officials would conduct the immigration process for Pakistani pilgrims, for which special counters are established at the Islamabad Airport.
He said the facility would be gradually extended to all cities of Pakistan. In the second phase, Jinnah International Airport in Karachi would be included.
Under the project, the pilgrims’ luggage will be delivered directly at their residences in Saudi Arabia, the spokesman added.
The month-long pre-Hajj flight operation started on Thursday, July 4, and will continue until August 5. Pakistan International Airline (PIA), Air Blue and Saudi Airline will carry pilgrims from Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta airports.
The spokesman said the pilgrims had already been informed about their flights through SMS and letters. The Hajj flight schedule had also been uploaded on the ministry’s website.
Ten Haji camps are already activated across the country, he added. The spokesman said pilgrims would be provided passports, tickets, lockets and stickers before their flights. The pilgrims were asked to report to their nearest Haji camp two days before their flights to get their tickets and seal their medicines. They will be vaccinated 10 days before their flights.
The Aviation Division provided Aab-e-Zamzam storage facility at Islamabad, Quetta, Faisalabad, Sukkur and Rahim Yar Khan Airports, which would be distributed among the pilgrims on their return, he added.
The PIA started its pre-Hajj flights on July 4 and will operate over 350 special flights to Jeddah and Madina.
A total of 78,000 pilgrims will travel this year with 50,000 availing the Government Hajj package and the rest being accommodated by private operators.