Pak, S Arabia sign ‘Road to Makkah’ deal

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday signed an agreement for the execution of “Road to Makkah” project aimed at simplifying the immigration process for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims.
The agreement was signed at the Prime Minister House during the visit of Deputy Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia Dr. Nasir Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Dawood here. Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah and Saudi deputy interior minister signed the document while Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Saudi Ambassador in Islamabad Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki witnessed the ceremony.
Minister for Religious Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Senator Talha Mahmood, Federal Minister for Narcotics Control Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti, Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatemi were also present. Under the agreement, the Hajj and Umrah pilgrims of Pakistan would be provided immigration facilities in Pakistan who would be exempted from the process at Saudi airports.
In the first phase, the service would be available at Islamabad International Airport where around 26,000 pilgrims would benefit from the facility. The Saudi authorities assured that the facility would later be extended to Karachi and Lahore airports as well.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia also signed the joint minutes of the meeting in which they discussed the issuance of Pakistani passports to the Burmese Muslims residing in Saudi Arabia. According to the details, the passports of the Burmese Muslims were not renewed after 2012 which created some difficulties for them in the Kingdom.
Under the arrangement, the Burmese Muslims and their children would be issued passports to improve their legal status in Saudi Arabia. As per the discussion, a bilateral committee would be formed comprising the representatives of Saudi Arabia and the interior ministry to work out early issuance of the documents to the Burmese Muslims. Following the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Shehbaz presented a souvenir to the Saudi dignitary who also reciprocated the gesture by presenting a memento the prime minister.

PM appreciates KSA for including Pakistan in project

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday appreciated the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for including Pakistan in the “Road to Makkah” project which would facilitate Pakistanis intending to go for Hajj this year through the Islamabad International Airport.
The prime minister was talking to Saudi Deputy Minister for Interior Dr Nasir bin Abdul Aziz Al- Dawood who called on him here. The Saudi minister informed the prime minister that the “Road to Makkah” project would be extended to Lahore and Peshawer next year to facilitate more Pakistani pilgrims in discharge of the important religious obligation.
PM Shehbaz thanked the Kingdom for its support to Pakistan during the last year’s heavy floods. He also thanked the KSA for helping in the evacuation of Pakistanis stranded in Sudan as the law and order situation worsened there. Referring to the recent KSA- Iran agreement to normalize ties, he expressed the hope that it would help promote regional peace and security. The Saudi Deputy Interior Minister thanked Pakistan for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation. He said the brotherly ties between Pakistan and the KSA were deeply rooted in history. He showed his satisfaction over the useful meetings held with the Pakistani ministers for Interior, Religious Affairs and Narcotics Control during his visit.