Saudi Arabia stops Pakistan from Haj agreement as precaution against virus

The Kingdom is continuously monitoring the situation and will inform Pakistan as soon as there is a marked improvement

Web Desk
Muslims pray at the Grand Mosque during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem/Files

RIYADH/ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia on Thursday asked Pakistan not to draw up a Haj agreement yet as the Kingdom continues its measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter sent to Religious Affairs Minister Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Saudi Haj and Umrah Minister Dr Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten said there should be no agreement at this time owing to the lockdown and containment measures against the virus.

The Kingdom, according to Dr Mohammad Saleh, was continuously monitoring the situation and that it would inform as soon as a marked improvement was observed.

Qadri consequently halted work on the upcoming Haj agreement.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony had conducted balloting for the government's Haj scheme under which almost 100,000 pilgrims were picked to would go to Saudi Arabia to perform the annual pilgrimage later this year.