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Hajj 2024: Lawmakers discuss Saudi decision to reduce Hajj organizers from Pakistan

06:42 PM | 19 Oct, 2023
Hajj 2024: Lawmakers discuss Saudi decision to reduce Hajj organizers from Pakistan

ISLAMABAD - The Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony discussed the fallout of the decision by Saudi Arabia to cut down the number of Hajj Group Organizers from Pakistan.

The members discussed the implications for next year's Hajj as the authorities in Saudi Arabia have reduced the number of Pakistani Hajj Group Organizers (HGOs) from 905 to only 46.

During the meeting, it was revealed that a letter had been forwarded to the Saudi Hajj and Umrah Ministry, requesting a delay in the reduction for the current year and suggesting a gradual decrease in the upcoming years.

Despite the negotiations underway in this regard, it was highlighted that the Saudi authorities might not budge on their decision, advising the religious affairs ministry to prepare for the upcoming Hajj accordingly. 

The committee members recommended that the matter should be taken up at the highest level by Caretaker Minister of Religious Affairs, Aneeq Ahmed with his Saudi counterpart. The members also decided that another letter would be sent to the Saudi Ministry of Religious Affairs regarding the number of Hajj Group Organizers. 

The committee also disclosed that Saudi authorities have approved the 'Road to Makkah' project from Lahore and Karachi airports while proposing its extension to airports in Peshawar and Quetta.

The committee meeting was chaired by Abdul Ghafor Haideri and was attended by senators Molvi Faiz Mohammad, Hafiz Abdul Karim, Professor Sajid Mir, Naseebullah Bazai, Haji Hidayatullah and Gurdeep Singh. Moreover, additional secretary of the religious affairs ministry, a team of senior officials, as well as representatives from the Hajj Organizers Association of Pakistan (HOAP) also attended the meeting.

Road to Makkah Project

The 'Road to Makkah' initiative is part of Saudi Arabia’s Guests of God Service Program, which King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud inaugurated in 2019 under Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030. The agreement is renewed every year with countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Morocco, and Bangladesh. 

As per the initiative, Hajj pilgrims are issued visas and provided other services, such as baggage facilities, at their respective countries’ airports. Not only that, the pilgrims move directly to buses to take them to their places of residence in Makkah and Madina while their luggage is delivered to them; it saves pilgrims from many hassles upon arriving in Saudi Arabia.

The agreement was renewed in May as Saudi Arabia’s deputy interior minister, Dr. Nasser bin Abdul Aziz Al-Dawood arrived in Pakistan and met then-interior minister Rana Sanaullah.

Daily Pakistan Global Web Desk

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Pakistani rupee exchange rate against US dollar, Euro, Pound and Riyal – March 1, 2024

Pakistani rupee remains stable against US dollar in the open market on March 1, 2024 (Friday).

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.32 for buying and 282.35 for selling.

Euro currently stands at 302 for buying and 305 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 353 for buying, and 356 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.15 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.4.

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan – March 1, 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar ‎USD 279.32 282.35
Euro EUR 302 305
UK Pound Sterling GBP 353 356
U.A.E Dirham AED 76.15 76.85
Saudi Riyal SAR 74.4 75.2
Australian Dollar AUD 181 183
Bahrain Dinar BHD 743.11 751.11
Canadian Dollar CAD 207 209.2
China Yuan CNY 38.82 39.22
Danish Krone DKK 40.69 41.09
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.7 36.05
Indian Rupee INR 3.37 3.48
Japanese Yen JPY 2.1 2.18
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 907.32 916.32
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.49 59.09
New Zealand Dollar NZD 172.43 174.43
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.36 26.66
Omani Riyal OMR 725.68 733.68
Qatari Riyal ‎QAR 76.74 77.46
Singapore Dollar SGD 207 209
Swedish Korona SEK 27.13 27.43
Swiss Franc CHF 317.76 320.26
Thai Bhat THB 7.76 7.91

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