ISLAMABAD — Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah announced the signing of a new agreement with Pakistan aimed at increasing the number of flights between the two countries as well as to reduce costs for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims from that country.

A high-ranking Saudi delegation, headed by Al-Rabiah, arrived here on Sunday on a four-day official visit. During the last leg of the visit, the minister will open Nusuk Exhibition in the southern port city of Karachi on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference in the presence of Pakistan’s Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Aneeq Ahmed, Al-Rabiah said that that the unified national platform Nusuk simplifies procedures for pilgrims, and gives Hajj and Umrah pilgrims the freedom to choose hotels and the related facilities and services.

Al-Rabiah said the Nusuk platform would contribute to the issuance of Umrah visas in less than 24 hours, and the visa period can be extended from 30 days to 90 days. “The Pakistani pilgrims can visit the tourist, historical and cultural places, and visit any region in Saudi Arabia. Our goal is to make Umrah an unforgettable historical experience,” he said.

Al-Rabiah said the Nusk exhibition will be opened in Karachi on Tuesday. “A large number of Saudi and Pakistani tourist and Umrah companies will attend the exhibition,” he said.

The minister noted that this is his first visit to Pakistan as Minister of Hajj and Umrah, and that it comes as an extension of the historical relations that are under the direct supervision of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman.

Al-Rabiah said that all the joint efforts between the two countries have contributed to an increase in the number of Pakistani Umrah pilgrims to more than one million last year.

Former Pakistani Minister of Religious Affairs Muhammad Talha Mahmood, Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf Al-Maliki and other officials also attended the meetings with the Saudi delegation. A key agenda item during the meetings was the discussions about the potential increase in Pakistan’s Hajj quota, which could be determined based on the country’s new census.

During the visit, discussions focus on matters concerning the facilities for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, as well as the potential expansion of the Makkah Road project to other Pakistani cities. The Saudi delegation has a packed schedule of meetings with top Pakistani leaders, including the President, Caretaker Prime Minister, and the Chief of Army Staff.

Earlier, upon arrival, Al-Rabiah was warmly received by Minister Aneeq Ahmed and Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Al-Maliki at the airport. The Saudi delegation comprises heads from various government departments, including civil aviation, airlines, and representatives from the General Authority of Civil Aviation.

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