Saudi Arabia has not yet revealed its Hajj policy for this year, but Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Dr Noor ul Haq Qadri said Pakistan has made all the necessary preparations to send a limited number of pilgrims to Hajj.
Qadri told Voice of America (VOA) in a special interview with Ali Furqan that this year’s Hajj would be a little more expensive than last year’s due to sufficient COVID-19 SOPs, but that an accurate estimate can only be made once Saudi Arabia makes its final announcement regarding SOPs and the number of pilgrims.
Because there isn’t much time left for Hajj, Saudi Arabia won’t be able to make customary plans. Saudi Arabia will be able to make minimal arrangements, he said, but the number of pilgrims has not been guaranteed.
According to Qadri, the Pakistani government is in contact with Saudi authorities, and Saudi Arabia likewise wants to gain the trust of key Muslim countries before making a final decision. He stated that Saudi Arabia is developing strong SOPs to combat coronavirus during Hajj, and Pakistan will ensure that these coronavirus SOPs are followed.
‘Pakistan can handle Hajj arrangements’
He went on to say that all pilgrims would have to have negative COVID-19 tests before leaving, and that all pilgrims would have to undergo a 3-day quarantine once they arrived in Saudi Arabia.
On arrival in Madina from Makkah and on return to Makkah, a coronavirus test will be required.
According to the federal minister, each country will be assigned a certain time to perform Tawaf-e-Zirat and Umrah in the Haram in order to avoid crowds. “Pakistan has the competence to execute plans in a short time on the allocation of Hajj quota by Saudi Arabia,” the minister added.
‘Pakistan will convince Saudi Arabia to recognize Chinese coronavirus vaccine’
Till now, Saudi Arabia did not accept the authenticity of Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, however, Pakistan is optimistic that they can convince Saudi authorities to accept Sinopharm vaccine which is being injected into the citizens.
For this year Hajj policy, the Suadi authorities only recommended Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson’s vaccines.