ISLAMABAD: The Covid-19 pandemic has forced [people around the world] the postponement or cancellation of countless events and activities of global interest, causing great disappointment for billions [people] in the globe.
Among them are more than 2 million Pakistanis who, after saving and planning for years, missed out on what is for many the once-in-a-lifetime experience of performing Hajj last year. And this year too, they are waiting for the Saudi and Pakistani governments’ decisions, whether they allow conducting Haj or postponing.
Delay of the Saudi government in taking final decision regarding commencement of Haj and signing an agreement with the Pakistani government in this regard has put more than two million Pakistani in a state of confusion.
They have appealed to the government to take up the matter with the Saudi government so that a clear decision could be taken over the matter [Haj commencement].
Earlier, though the Saudi government had announced about Hajj commencement, declaring covid-19 vaccination compulsory for every pilgrim, but ‘it has so far failed’ to take a clear and final stand over the matter.
It is to mention here that amidst the deadly pandemic, Haj was not allowed for pilgrims around the world last year and only Saudi nationals in a very thin majority were permitted to perform Haj. Following the decision, around 1,000 pilgrims residing in the Kingdom had performed Haj last year as the government had imposed restrictions on foreign pilgrims due to the spread of deadly covid-19.
While intending-Haj pilgrims are approaching private tour operators to get confirmation about the government plan for Haj and securing their space.
Sources, in this connection, reveal that private travel agencies and tour operators, while taking advantage of the public desperation, have started looting them in the name of Haj tours.
The pilgrims therefore have demanded of the government to play its part to further avoid any confusions and complexions.