Pak turmoil ‘won’t affect Haj operation’
Political disturbances in Pakistan will not affect the country’s preparations for the coming Haj season, said Khayyam Akbar, charge d’affaires at Pakistani embassy, here Sunday.
Akbar said arrangements to ensure the smooth travel of about 143,368 Pakistani pilgrims to Makkah and Madinah are on track.
“All flights carrying pilgrims are operating normally,” said Akbar.
Akbar said that “a group of 1020 welfare personnel, including Pakistani doctors, have arrived in Makkah and Madinah to man three make-shift hospitals.” This is in addition to about 600 workers locally hired by the Pakistani diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia to serve the pilgrims, said the diplomat.
Akbar said several shuttle buses have already been put into service for pilgrims in Makkah and Madinah. Moreover, pilgrims have also been provided with high-tech gadgets, including SIM cards and smart tags, which will help them find locations of Haj rituals. These gadgets will also help Haj officials locate pilgrims in distress.
Pakistani pilgrims this year will also be flown by PIA, Shaheen Air, Air Blue, Air Arabia and other Middle East-based airlines at their regular flights.