Pakistan withdraws Covid-19 vaccination certificate requirement for Hajj visitors

World Tuesday 05/December/2023 07:37 AM
Pakistan withdraws Covid-19 vaccination certificate requirement for Hajj visitors

Islamabad : The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony in Pakistan announced that those performing Hajj next year would not need to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination, The News International reported.

Taking to X, the ministry posted, "The condition for corona[virus] vaccine has been abolished. Haj pilgrims do not need to submit their coronavirus [vaccination] certificates."

The Pakistan-based news daily reported that the Saudi authorities revoked major restrictions this year in June for the Hajj pilgrimage leading to the visit of pilgrims at maximum capacity for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 2 million people gathered at Islam's holiest site to perform the pilgrimage after the Saudi authorities invited people from across the globe following the abolishment of curbs.

Over 2.4 million performed the pilgrimage in 2019, while in 2020, due to the curbs imposed because of coronavirus lockdowns, Saudi Arabia restricted the attendance to a few thousand citizens and residents.

In 2022, around 900,000 were able to perform Haj after the Saudi authorities allowed limited numbers of foreign pilgrims.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs opened the registration for Haj 2024 on November 27 under the government scheme and the process is set to continue till December 12.

The applications can be submitted on a passport valid till December 16, 2024, and the Haj application can also be processed on a passport application token.

The News International reported, citing the ministry's spokesperson, that about 89,605 Pakistanis will perform Haj under the government scheme next year.

Balloting will be conducted if more than the prescribed number of applications are received.

For the first time, women will have the opportunity to undertake the sacred journey without the traditional requirement of a male companion, The News International reported.

Under the sponsorship scheme, 25,000 seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.