Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Aneeq Ahmed, on Monday, called for the extension of the ‘Road to Makkah’ project to multiple airports across Pakistan. He made this appeal during a joint press conference held alongside Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah expressing that the ‘Road to Makkah’ initiative, which streamlines the pilgrimage process for Pakistani pilgrims, had proven highly advantageous for those embarking on the Hajj journey. Minister Aneeq also advocated for exempting individuals aged 65 and above from mandatory biometric verification for the pilgrimage. He highlighted that this requirement had been causing inconvenience for senior citizens due to issues related to fingerprint recognition. Furthermore, he suggested exploring alternative locations for the Pakistan House in Madina, which had been dismantled to make way for the expansion of Haram Sharif. Speaking of the efforts by the Saudi government to provide modern amenities for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, Minister Aneeq praised the superior facilities available to religious visitors. He emphasized Pakistan’s prominent role as a top contributor to Umrah pilgrims worldwide. He underscored the deep-rooted ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, considering the visit of the Saudi Minister for Hajj and Umrah to be an honor for the nation. He attributed the visit to the strong affection held by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Pakistan. Both Minister Aneeq Ahmed and his Saudi counterpart, Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, stressed the importance of enhancing facilities for Pakistani pilgrims during their stay in Mina and Arafat. Dr. Al-Rabiah highlighted the crucial discussions that took place during the visit and expressed admiration for the close bond shared between the Pakistani people and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. Recognizing Saudi Arabia’s commitment to offering essential services to Pakistani pilgrims, he emphasized the significance of evaluating the quality of facilities provided during the pilgrimage. He also announced Saudi Arabia’s intention to reduce Hajj expenses and extend the visa duration for Umrah pilgrims to 90 days. Additionally, he revealed plans to introduce approximately 100 new historical sites in Makkah and Madinah, enhancing the overall pilgrim experience. Dr. Al-Rabiah expressed optimism regarding the collaborative efforts between Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and their Saudi counterparts. He conveyed the joint commitment of both nations to ensuring the successful implementation of agreements, including an increase in flight options between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. A bilateral agreement was signed earlier, with officials from both nations expressing confidence that the agreement’s outcomes would soon be disclosed to the public.