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Saudi government minimises number of visas for Umrah during coming Ramzan

Karachi, June 12, 2013 (PPI-OT): As Saudi government has minimised the number of visas for Umrah during coming Ramadan the tour operators have sharply reacted over the grim situation. The tour operators gathered at Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) in an emergent meeting with Acting President FPCCI Rukhsana Jehangir in the chair have argued that due to curtailment of quota thousands of pilgrims would be denied their right of perform Hajj and several billion of rupees would be stuck up with the airlines.

The Chairman FPCCI Standing Committee Azizur Rehman Rajput apprised in the meeting that as per Hajj Protocol signed with Pakistan for 2013, Saudi government had allowed 180,000 Hajj quota following which the ministry of religious affairs had allotted 90,000 pilgrims’ quota to the government’s Hajj Scheme while 90,000 pilgrims’ quota to the private sector.

He said that Hajj applications had been invited by the government and private sector and airlines bookings have been made 726 HGOS (Hajj Group Organizers) besides renting out accommodations and arranging Moalims in Makkah and Madinah.

He however said that after arbitrarily reduction in Hajj quota a chaos like situation has been created and even ministry has to cancel 18,000 pilgrims under government scheme who have paid their Hajj dues three months in advance.

Similarly, 18,000 pilgrims would be canceled in private sector and several billions of rupees would be forfeited by hotels, airlines and Moalims as they are non-refundable as happened in 2008. The pilgrims would be not only deprived of performing hajj but they would lose their huge money as well. He said that Saudi Government’s move is a clear violation of settled international norms between the countries.

He called upon the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to immediately take up the matter with the Saudi government and resolve the issue. Rukhsana Jehangir assured the HGOS to urgently take up this issue with the government to contact King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz to intervene.

For more information, contact:
Syed Masood Alam Rizvi
Secretary General
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI)
B-1, Federation House, Main Clifton Road,
Karachi-75600, Pakistan
Tel: 0092-21-35873691, 93-94
Fax: +9221 3587 4332

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