More than 71,000 Pakistani pilgrims have reached Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj. At least 45000 people have gone to Saudi under government scheme whereas more than 26000 will perform Hajj through private scheme.
Ministry of Religious Affairs has sent nearly 650-member welfare staff from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia in order to look after the pilgrims. The staff includes 250 doctors and paramedical staff who will provide medical care to Hajj pilgrims at Jeddah airport, Makkah and Madina.
The first Hajj flight of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) carrying 328 pilgrims departed from Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Islamabad for Madina on July, 24 2017. Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Minister Sardar Muhammad Yousaf advised the pilgrims to present a positive image of the country by adopting good behavior, staying disciplined and following the rules and regulation set by the government during the Hajj process, “I hope there will be no mismanagement in this year’s Hajj,” he added.
A total of four airlines including PIA, Saudi Airlines, Air Blue and Shaheen Air are participating in the operation. Pre-Hajj flights’ operation would culminate on August 26. Earlier in July, the National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad also issued an advisory for Pakistani citizens regarding prevention and control of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS-CoV) during Hajj.
According to the advisory, MERS is a viral respiratory disease triggered by a novel coronavirus that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.—TNS