Hassle-free spiritual journey


The Road to Makkah Initiative introduced by the Saudi Arabian authorities has emerged as a significant diplomatic breakthrough for Pakistan’s coalition government as it offers hassle-free immigration process for Hajj pilgrims from Pakistan in their home country.
This initiative has the potential to revolutionize the way Pakistani Muslims embark on their spiritual journey to the holiest cities of Makkah and Madinah. The initiative represents a remarkable achievement for Pakistan as it strengthens diplomatic ties between the two nations and showcases the country’s commitment to facilitating its citizens’ religious obligations.
The Consul General of Pakistan in the Saudi capital, Jeddah, Khalid Majeed, has informed media representatives about the development regarding the Road to Makkah Initiative, which is going to be extended to airports in the provincial capitals of Pakistan from next year.
Pre-clearance of pilgrims in their home countries eliminates processing at Saudi airports. The pilgrims are greeted at lounges on arrival and quickly transported to their destinations.
A news story published on these pages states that Saudi authorities have assured that the airports in provincial capitals in Pakistan would also benefit from the Road to Makkah initiative, which is currently available in the country’s capital, Islamabad, only.
The initiative was launched in 2019 by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah (Saudi Arabia) and has been implemented in five countries, including Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Morocco and Bangladesh. The initiative is part of Saudi Arabia’s Guests of God Service Program, which Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman inaugurated in 2019 under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to diversify the economy.
A total of 30,000 Pakistani pilgrims have already benefited from the Road to Makkah initiative, similar to the number in the previous year.
It is anticipated that the number of beneficiaries will increase significantly in the coming year. During the inaugural direct flight to Makkah, which brought 340 pilgrims from Pakistan to Jeddah as part of the “Road to Makkah” program, Khalid Majeed has said the Pakistani hajj pilgrims received clearance in a remarkably short time of only thirty minutes.
Historically, Pakistani Hajj pilgrims faced numerous challenges, particularly in the immigration and visa issuance process. The Road to Makkah Initiative tackles this issue head-on by simplifying the immigration procedures within Pakistan. It establishes dedicated immigration counters at airports in major Pakistani cities, reducing the time and effort required for pilgrims to complete the necessary paperwork.
This streamlined process not only ensures a hassle-free journey but also guarantees that pilgrims can focus on their spiritual obligations without unnecessary administrative burdens.
The initiative also serves as a testament to the close and amicable relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, custodian of the two holiest sites, holds great religious and geopolitical significance for Pakistan.
By implementing the Road to Makkah Initiative, the Saudi authorities have recognized the importance of facilitating the religious aspirations of millions of Pakistani Muslims. This move strengthens the bond between the two nations and highlights the trust and cooperation they share.