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Saudi Arabia Greenlights ‘Road to Makkah’ Project in Karachi

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman, has given the go-ahead for the establishment of the ‘Road to Makkah’ project at Karachi airport. This initiative is part of a broader effort to streamline the immigration process for Hajj pilgrims, ensuring a seamless and hassle-free experience.

A delegation from Saudi Arabia, led by Saudi Consul General in Karachi, Faleh Al-Rehaili, recently visited Jinnah International Airport (JIAP) to initiate the project. The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) stated that the purpose of the delegation’s visit was to assess airport facilities and discuss arrangements for the Road to Makkah project.

Upon arrival, the delegation was warmly welcomed by the airport authority’s acting manager and other representatives. They were given a comprehensive tour of the airport facilities, including the process Hajj pilgrims would take, starting from the main entrance to the immigration area. The delegation also held meetings with airport security, customs, and immigration officials to discuss processing requirements and procedures.

The delegation showed particular interest in the immigration process for intending pilgrims and the allocation of immigration space. Other key points discussed were related to the allocation of the immigration hall, private Hajj pilgrims, differentiating between government and private scheme pilgrims. It was stressed that pilgrims should arrive at least five hours before their flight to ensure sufficient time for necessary procedures.

Sources indicated that Saudi Arabian immigration facilities for Hajj pilgrims would be finalized at Karachi airport in the coming days. Under the Road to Makkah project, all necessary requirements for pilgrims traveling from Karachi and other parts of Sindh will be fulfilled at the airport. Once cleared at the airport, pilgrims will bypass immigration at Jeddah and Medina airports, proceeding directly to their accommodations.

This initiative, already operational at Islamabad airport, aims to simplify and streamline immigration processes for pilgrims, ensuring a seamless experience. In May 2023, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Interior Minister, Dr. Nasir Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Dawood, visited Pakistan to finalize and sign an agreement related to the Road to Makkah project. The project is expected to mark a significant milestone in enhancing the pilgrimage experience for travelers, facilitating their journey to Makkah with ease and efficiency.

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