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Saudi Arabia restores Pakistan’s pre-COVID Hajj quota

ISLAMABAD:- In a major development, Saudi Arabia restored Pakistan’s Hajj quota to pre-pandemic levels and lifted the upper age limit as the COVID-19 epidemic waned, confirmed Ministry for Religious Affairs on Monday.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Mufti Abdul Shakoor received a draft of the annual Hajj agreement from the Saudi authorities, under which, Pakistan’s previous Hajj quota of 179,210 pilgrims has been restored and the age limit of 65 years has been abolished, according to the ministry.

The religious affairs minister is currently in Saudi Arabia to attend the four-day International Hajj Conference. During his visit, the minister called on his Saudi counterpart and other officials.

According to the ministry, this year Hajj applications are likely to be invited by the end of February. The minister will announce the Hajj Policy 2023 after the approval of the federal cabinet.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia‘s Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Tawfiq al-Rabi’ah, has said that delegations from 19 countries including Pakistan, India and Iran signed Hajj agreements.

These agreements detail the number of pilgrims, their arrival and departure, and the services offered to them.

Turkey, Sudan, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, and Bahrain are among the other signatories of the Hajj Agreement, said the Saudi minister.

Furthermore, a delegation including ministers from 12 countries met the minister, who then informed the delegations about the new facilities offered to Hajj pilgrims by the Saudi government.

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