Confusion over number of pilgrims remaining in KSA

It is still uncertain how many pilgrims are still in the Kingdom.

What has added to the confusion is the discrepancy in the figures shown by different Haj Ministry officials. They, however, agree on the number of pilgrims who have actually arrived from outside as given by the Central Department of Statistics and Information (CDSI).

According to the department, a total of 1,384,941 pilgrims have come from outside.

The ministry has corroborated the number and claimed that out of the total arriving pilgrims, 1.3 million have already left for their respective countries.

This should have left behind 84,941 pilgrims but the ministry is saying there are still 189,598 pilgrims in the Kingdom distributed between the Two Holy Cities.

The ministry says there are 52,087 pilgrims still remaining in Makkah and 137,511 in Madinah. However, as per the ministry’s assistant undersecretary for Haj affairs, Abdul Rahman Al-Nifaie, there are only 35,000 pilgrims in Makkah now.

Using the figures of both the ministry and the center, the remaining pilgrims should not be more than 84,941 as the ministry had said 1.3 million out of 1,384,941 external pilgrims have already left.

Nifaie said 1.3 million pilgrims have left through King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah, Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah, Jeddah Islamic Seaport and other land outlets.

“There are only 35,000 pilgrims left in Makkah who are waiting for their flight schedules and are mostly from India and Pakistan,” he said.

He said the grouping of the pilgrims to the airports and seaports will continue until the last of them leaves before the deadline of Muharram 15 (Oct. 29).

Nifaie did not give the number of pilgrims still in Madinah but said some of them prefer to stay for eight days to perform 40 prayers in the Prophet’s Mosque.

Mohammed Abdul Rahman Al-Bijawi, director of the ministry’s branch in Madinah, said the pilgrims still remaining in the Prophet’s City are 137,511.

He said the pilgrims will depart on 60 daily scheduled flights from the Madinah airport while those still in Makkah will leave via KAIA.


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