Pakistan, Saudi Arabia sign road to Makkah agreement


Agreement to streamline Hajj, Umrah for Pakistani pilgrims

Zubair Qureshi

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have officially inked an agreement to implement the “Road to Makkah” initiative, designed to simplify the immigration process for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims.

The signing took place at the Prime Minister House and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Saudi Ambassador in Islamabad Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki witnessed the signing ceremony.

Deputy Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Nasir Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Dawood and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah signed the document on behalf of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

The event was also attended by Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Senator Talha Mahmood, Federal Minister for Narcotics Control Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti, and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Tariq Fatemi.

Under the terms of the agreement, Pakistani Hajj and Umrah pilgrims will receive streamlined immigration facilities within Pakistan, exempting them from lengthy processes upon arrival at Saudi airports. Initially, this service will be available at Islamabad International Airport, benefiting around 26,000 pilgrims during the first phase.

Furthermore, the Saudi authorities have assured that this facility will later be extended to Karachi and Lahore airports.

In addition to the “Road to Makkah” project, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia also signed joint minutes of the meeting, during which they discussed the issuance of Pakistani passports to Burmese Muslims residing in Saudi Arabia. Since 2012, these individuals have faced difficulties as their passports were not renewed, causing legal complications within the Kingdom.