Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-UL-Haq Qadri on Friday said that government will discuss the conditions and flexibilities for Pakistani pilgrims to perform hajj 2021 with the Saudi Arabian government.
Talking to media, he said Saudi Arabia asked Islamic countries to wait before making any further plans to attend the annual hajj pilgrimage until there was more clarity over the deadly coronavirus pandemic, adding, hopefully within next two months the situation of Covid-19 would be further improved as vaccine is available.
He said we are aware of people’s concerns regarding Hajj, adding that he is “constantly in touch with the Saudi Arabian authorities in this regard”. Noor-UL-Haq Qadri said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has not signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Pakistan regarding Hajj yet.
It should be noted that Saudi Arabia allowed a limited number of pilgrims (10,000 people) to perform Hajj last year in view of the coronavirus pandemic, he added. He said Saudi government was closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and collecting data from all countries. However, Saudi government will inform Pakistan as soon as the situation gets better, he said.
Pakistan will have a meeting with the Saudi Arabian government and they will explain the situation and conditions. God willing, when everything is clear, we will plan accordingly, he mentioned. For now, we are unable to inform public about the number of pilgrims who will attend the annual Hajj 2021 from Pakistan but we will have to wait for the final decision of Saudi government in this regard, he added.
Replying a query, minister said the government of Saudi Arabia has made it very clear that it will only allow Hajj to take place under the Kingdom’s coronavirus safety protocols. He said Pakistani government would also provide Covid-19 vaccination doses to those wishing to perform hajj this year. He said a media awareness campaign would be launched with a focus on health requirements of Saudi government and recommendations for those traveling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj.