Minister hopeful Pakistan will get Hajj quota after Saudi allows limited pilgrims

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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmon Dr Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said on Sunday that the Saudi government has allowed 60,000 people across the globe to perform Hajj this year under strict Covid SOPs. In a statement, he said the intending pilgrims will include 15,000 locals and 45,000 from other parts of the world. The minister hoped that Pakistan will also get a quota in the 45,000 international pilgrims for Hajj 2021. Intending pilgrims of the age group from 18 to 60 years will be allowed to perform Hajj this year and they have to present a fitness certificate of good health, he said. He further said that an authentic corona vaccine certificate and PCR negative test will be mandatory for pilgrims to perform Hajj this year. On vaccination matter, the minister said Pakistan has requested the Government of Saudi Arabia to approve Chinese manufactured anti-Covid vaccine as well to facilitate Pakistani intending pilgrims. The Foreign Office yesterday said it had taken up with the Saudi government the issue of Pakistani Hajj pilgrims who were vaccinated against Covid-19 with Chinese jabs. According to a report, Saudi Arabia has issued a list of recommended vaccines, which does not include vaccines manufactured in China. Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna coronavirus vaccines have been recommended by the kingdom for use, according to a report. It is pertinent to mention here that Saudi Arabia last year only allowed 10,000 pilgrims from within its borders to make the pilgrimage due to pandemic.

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