FM Qureshi raises Hajj issue with Saudi counterpart
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has talked to his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan in which both discussed range of issues including the performing of Hajj was also taken up.
“I talked to Saudi Foreign Minister about the performing of Hajj, and he said that we’re reviewing the situation,” Qureshi cited his telephonic conversation, and added that Pakistan would continue its diplomatic contacts with Saudi Arabia.
Qureshi said that the majority of those Umrah pilgrims who were stuck in Saudi Arabia following the closure of the international flights due to the coronavirus pandemic are back to home.
“Saudi FM told me that banning Umrah and the closure of the mosques was not an easy decision,” Qureshi said, adding that he also spoke to the OIC General Secretary two days ago.
“During my discussion with the OIC GC, I raised the financial challenges of the developing countries in the wake of the pandemic,” and added that Pakistan would continue to raise the issue.
He also said that Pakistan has increased its corona testing capability.
On Tuesday, Saudi Hajj Minister asked Muslims to temporarily defer preparations for the annual pilgrimage amid uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia suspended the year-round "umrah" pilgrimage over fears of the new coronavirus spreading to Islam's holiest cities, an unprecedented move that raised uncertainty over the annualHajj.
"Saudi Arabia is fully ready to serve pilgrims and umrah seekers," minister Mohammad Benten told the state-run Al-Ekhbariya television. "But under the current circumstances, as we are talking about the global pandemic... the kingdom is keen to protect the health of Muslims and citizens and so we have asked our brother Muslims in all countries to wait before doing (Hajj) contracts until the situation is clear."
Saudi authorities are yet to announce whether they will proceed with this year's Hajj, scheduled for the end of July.