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Hajis’ travel time from Islamabad to Jeddah reduced: minister

Updated April 12, 2019


Pilgrims sit and circumambulate around the Kaaba ahead of the annual Haj pilgrimage in Makkah. — AFP/File
Pilgrims sit and circumambulate around the Kaaba ahead of the annual Haj pilgrimage in Makkah. — AFP/File

KARACHI: Federal Minister for Aviation and Privatisation Muhammadmian Soomro has announced the ‘Road to Makkah’ initiative for Haj 2019, which will facilitate pilgrims’ journey to Makkah from Islamabad, which will now take six hours instead of 12 to 15 hours that used to take earlier.

Announcing the plan in a press briefing held at the Civil Aviation Authority headquarters here, the federal minister said Prime Minster Imran Khan had requested Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, for provision of the referred service to Pakistan during his recent visit to Islamabad.

“According to the project, pilgrims will complete all immigration and health formalities at Islamabad airport, which were earlier being done at the Jeddah airport. Based on its results the Road to Makkah project will be extended to other airports of Pakistan as well,” he said.

“After this initiative, now the pilgrims will reach Jeddah airport from Islamabad as a domestic passenger, this will save almost half of [their travelling] time. The Aviation Policy 2019, which has been drafted in line with the vision and directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, will attract more airlines in the country which eventually will boost the aviation sector and create job opportunities.”

Briefing about making operational non-functional airports, Mr Soomro said that the CAA had been tasked with making Saidu Sharif, Chitral, Muzaffarabad, Rawalakot, Parachinar and D.I. Khan airports operational within two months’ time.

Sharing details of the Clean and Green Pakistan Programme of the PM under way in the CAA, he said that nearly 100,000 plants and shrubs in total would be planted at three major airports of Pakistan every year till 2022.

Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2019