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Saudi Arabia approves 'Road to Makkah' initiative at Karachi airport

07:48 PM | 22 Apr, 2024
Saudi Arabia approves 'Road to Makkah' initiative at Karachi airport

KARACHI - The government of Saudi Arabia has approved the expansion of the 'Road to Makkah' initiative for the pilgrims departing from Jinnah International Airport Karachi.

Well-placed sources confirm that the approval came after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman okayed the establishment of the "Road to Makkah" project at the Karachi airport to help facilitate the pilgrims departing for Hajj in June this year.

The approval came after a two-member delegation from Saudi Arabia accompanied by Saudi Consul General in Karachi Faleh Al-Rehaili visited the Jinnah International Airport (JIAP) and inspected various sections of the facility.

The officials from the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) briefed the delegation as the airport manager oversaw the comprehensive tour of the airport's facilities.

The delegation was shown the process Hajj pilgrims would go through which was examined by the Saudi team to remove any hindrances and improve the facilities. 

The Saudi Arabian delegation also met the Airport Security Force, Federal Investigation Agency, the Customs authorities and PCAA officials and held meetings with the technical teams to discuss the processing requirements and procedure.

“The delegation showed particular interest in the entry process for intending pilgrims and the allocation of immigration space. Other key points discussed were related to the allocation of immigration hall, private Hajj pilgrims, differentiating between government and private scheme pilgrims, among others," PCAA was quoted as saying by Geo News. 

The 'Road to Makkah' Initiative, an integral part of Saudi Arabia's Guests of God Service Program, aims to diversify the kingdom's economy and under this, pilgrims undergo immigration procedures at their respective countries' airports.

Pakistan's Ministry of Religious Affairs had previously expressed intentions to expand the Makkah Route Initiative to airports in cities besides Islamabad, with Karachi notably in the spotlight; the facility is only available at the Islamabad International Airport at the moment.

According to the CAA, Pakistani Hajj pilgrims might be spared the immigration process at Jeddah airport after completing the procedure at Lahore and Karachi airports under the initiative for this year's pilgrimage.

As far as this year's Hajj is concerned, the total number of seats allocated to Pakistan for the upcoming Hajj is around 180,000 but these include the seats allocated to the private Hajj operators also.

To attract the applicants, the government had also permitted those who had performed Hajj in the last 5 years to apply for the upcoming Hajj. The authorities have introduced the Short Hajj package for the pilgrims while the Sponsorship Scheme is also valid for this year as well.

As far as the Long Hajj is concerned, it would encompass 38-42 days with 8 days stay in Medinah and those flying from the South region i.e. Karachi, and Sukkhur would have to pay Rs 10,65,000 while those from other cities i.e. Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Sialkot, Faisalabad would pay Rs 10,75,000.

For Sponsorship scheme applicants, the cost is $3765 for the South Region while it is $ 3800 for the North Region for those opting for the Long Hajj package.

For the Short Hajj package, the cost for regular Hajj applicants is Rs 11,40,000 for the South region while the cost is Rs 11,50,000 for the North region; the Hajj would continue for 20-25 days under this scheme.

For the Sponsorship Scheme, the cost for Short Hajj is $ 4015 USD for the South region and $ 4050 for North region. This year’s pilgrimage is expected to run from June 14 till June 19.

Daily Pakistan Global Web Desk

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Currency Rates in Pakistan Today - Pak Rupee to US Dollar, Euro, Dirham, Riyal 23 May 2024

Pakistani currency rates against US Dollar and other currencies on May 23, 2024 (Thursday) in open market.

USD to PKR rate today

US dollar was being quoted at 277.25 for buying and 280.25 for selling.

Euro moved down to 297 for buying and 300 for selling while British Pound rate is 349.5 for buying, and 353 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.2 and Saudi Riyal came down to 73.45.

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 23 May 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 08:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar ‎USD 277.25 280.25
Euro EUR 297 300
UK Pound Sterling GBP 349.5 353
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.2 75.95
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.45 74.2
Australian Dollar AUD 183 184.8
Bahrain Dinar BHD 740.52 748.52
Canadian Dollar CAD 203 205
China Yuan CNY 38.51 38.91
Danish Krone DKK 40.52 40.92
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.68 36.03
Indian Rupee INR 3.34 3.45
Japanese Yen JPY 1.91 1.99
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 903.3 912.3
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 59.39 59.99
New Zealand Dollar NZD 170.11 172.11
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.92 26.22
Omani Riyal OMR 723.46 731.46
Qatari Riyal ‎QAR 76.42 77.12
Singapore Dollar SGD 203 205
Swedish Korona SEK 26.02 26.32
Swiss Franc CHF 305.97 308.47
Thai Bhat THB 7.67 7.82

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