Saudi Arabia not to accept govt’s corona test reports of Pakistani Hajj pilgrims

F.P. Report

RIYADH: The Pakistani Hajj aspirants, besides affording the most expensive Hajj, face another problem as Saudi Arabia has refused to accept their test reports of Covid-19 that had been issued to them by the Pakistani government, on Friday.

It merits a mention here that the ministry of religious affairs had suggested that the expenses of Covid-19 test reports of the Hajj aspirants should be borne by the government.

The purpose behind this suggestion was to save the Hajj aspirants from spending money on Covid-19 tests.

But, Saudi Arabia has made Covid-19 reports from six private laboratories mandatory, and, each pilgrim will now have to pay Rs4,250 extra besides the Hajj package.

As many as 81,210 Hajj aspirants from Pakistan will spend a total of Rs345,142,500 apart from the Hajj package.

It has also been mandatory for the Covid-19 test report to be within 72 hours of the flight instead of 48 hours.

Meanwhile, the first Hajj flight will leave for Saudi Arabia from Islamabad on June 6 as per the schedule of Hajj flights released by the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

According to the spokesperson for the Ministry of Religious Affairs, as many as 32,000 Hajj aspirants will fly to Saudi Arabi through 106 flights, and, 42 flights will be operated from Islamabad under “Route to Mecca” project.

The schedule of Hajj flights has been uploaded to the ministry’s website, and, messages have also been sent to the cell phones of the Hajj aspirants about the schedule of their flights.

“The Hajj aspirants should strictly follow the schedule to avoid any hassle,” advised the spokesperson for the ministry.

“The Hajj aspirants should get their biometric verification from the nearest Etimad centre as per the ongoing schedule,” he said, adding they should also contact the Hajj Camp to get the required vaccines, identity pendant, passport, Hajj visa, ticket, and wrist band.

The Hajj aspirants will have to undergo Covid PCR tests at six Saudi-approved laboratories within 72 hours of the flight.

The booths of approved laboratories have been set up in the Hajj camps to facilitate the Hajj aspirants.

The Hajj aspirants will need a PCR (negative) test certificate for departure to Saudi Arabia.

The Hajj aspirants will have to pay Rs4,250 for the PCR test.