Saudi Arabia increased quota of Pakistani pilgrims for next year’s Hajj by 5,000, according to a spokesman of Ministry of Religious Affairs. Reportedly an agreement was signed in this regard by Minister of Religious Affairs Pir Noor ul Haq Qadri and his Saudi Arabian counterpart. Under the arrangement, more than 184, 000 pilgrims will perform Hajj from Pakistan next year. It was also decided that Pakistani pilgrims would be included in ‘Road to Makkah’ project in phases and initially, 35,000 pilgrims from Sindh province would benefit from this scheme. Verification and immigration process of the pilgrims would then be conducted at Karachi airport and Pakistani pilgrims would also be awarded e-visas.During the meeting of officials from both countries, the Pakistani officials were informed that decision relating to abolishing of 2,000 riyal fee will be made after holding consultation with Khadim-e-Haramayn al-Sharifayn. Moreover, the Saudi Arabian authorities assured that they would be considering a further increase in Hajj quota. Pir Noor ul Haq Qadri expressed gratification to the Saudi Arabian authorities for implementing recommendations proposed by the Pakistani authorities. Minister Qadri had informed the National Assembly earlier that Hajj policy formulation and plan had been initiated already and a concrete policy would be devised in three months.Published in Daily Times, December 10th 2018.