ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan International Airline (PIA) operated 230 special Hajj and scheduled flights, carrying approximately 57,000 intending pilgrims from sven major cities of Pakistan in the last 32 days, a PIA spokesman said here on Sunday. “The Pre-Hajj operation of transporting intending pilgrims to Medina and Jeddah has been completed successfully with on time departures, while the overall punctuality remained at 92 percent, he said. PIA carried 17,615 intending pilgrims from Karachi, 10,882 from Islamabad, 10,610 from Lahore, 7,601 from Peshawar, 5,956 from Multan, 3,923 from Sialkot and 445 from Faisalabad to Medina and Jeddah. Adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation Mehtab Ahmed Khan, the Aviation secretary and PIA Chairman Irfan Elahi congratulated the airline management of successful the pre-Hajj operation and instructed them to provide maximum facilities to returning Hujjaj at Saudi airports. The PIA spokesman said that PIA special task force had been deputed at Jeddah Hajj terminal and the Medina Airport to provide all help to returning Hujjaj. The post-Hajj operation will start on September 6 and conclude on October 5, 2017, the PIA spokesman said. Hajj arrangements: “An effective guidance system will be in place at the tent city of Mina, where pilgrims spend the first day of Hajj rituals to facilitate and assist Pakistani pilgrims locate their way and tents,” said Hajj Director General Sajid Yousafani said on Sunday. He said there would be pickets of Moavneens (helpers) close to the tents of Pakistani pilgrims. “These Moavneens clad in green jackets and carrying small Pakistani flags will be provided with Mina maps to properly guide the Hujjaj,” he said. He said Mina Maps had been printed and they would also be distributed amongst the Hujjaj so that they could themselves locate their places. “In addition, a main office has also been established in Mina from where Pakistani pilgrims can seek any help or guidance,” he said. The DG said that Mina was a well-organised valley having longitudinal roads with poles erected carrying pole and road numbers. He said the Hujjaj should note these numbers nearest to their tent in order to avoid any inconvenience. Responding to a question, Sajid Yousafani said over 2,000 people would be deployed in Mina for the assistance of Hujjaj. “These include six hundred Moavneens and about 1,500 personnel of Pakistan Hajj Volunteer Group (PHVG). The volunteer group comprises well-educated people who are fully acquainted with the routes of the area. These will not only guide the Hujjaj in Mina, but also help them on their way back to Aziziya,” he said. He said the Hujjaj would be provided with Maktab numbers and train tickets two days before their departure for Mina. He, however, pointed out that not all the Pakistani Hujjaj would get the train tickets. “Train and buses are the two means of transportation. About forty five to forty six thousand Pakistani pilgrims will get train tickets, while the remaining will travel by buses,” he said. Published in Daily Times, August 28th 2017.