Saudi Arabia asks Pakistan to defer Hajj Agreements amid Coronavirus Pandemic
Saudi Arabia on Thursday told Pakistan not to prepare a Hajj agreement this year as the coronavirus panic spreads throughout the world, according to a letter received from the kingdom.
According to a letter written by Saudi Hajj Minister Dr. Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten to Minister for Religious Affairs Noor ul Haq Qadri, Pakistan was asked to stop finalizing its agreements regarding housing, food and travel arrangements for now.
A spokesman for religious affairs ministry said that the Saudi authorities conveyed that the payments for the arrangements should be deferred for time being in order to facilitate the Hajj pilgrims.
“The final agreements should be delayed keeping in view the situation in the aftermath of coronavirus outbreak,” he said while quoting the letter and added that it further said the Saudi authorities are constantly reviewing the situation due to the global pandemic.
The new directives in this regard will be issued later, said the letter.
Speaking on the matter, Religious Affairs Minister Pir Noorul Haq Qadri said that the Saudi officials were mulling over different options for Hajj this year. “Any final decision in this regard will be taken by the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques and Saudi King Salman,” he said.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony had conducted balloting for the government’s Hajj scheme under which almost 100,000 pilgrims were picked to would go to Saudi Arabia to perform the annual pilgrimage later this year.