The aspirant pilgrims who had got Covid-19 vaccinations were eligible to proceed for Hajj to Saudi Arabia this year, said an official of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony on Monday. Talking to APP, he informed that according to the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Hajj was open to those who had received approved Covid-19 vaccinations by the Saudi Ministry of Health. He said the pilgrims were required to submit a negative Covid-19 PCR test result performed within 72 hours of the time of departure to the Saudi Arabia. The people above the age of 65 years could not perform Hajj this year, he added. He said the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah had instructed all the pilgrims to follow the health instructions and comply with precautionary measures to preserve their health and safety while performing the Hajj rituals. The official said it had authorized one million pilgrims, both foreign and domestic, to perform Hajj this year. According to the Saudi General Authority for Statistics, in 2021, 58,745 pilgrims performed Hajj rituals while 1,000 in 2020, he added. To a query about the Hajj quota for Pakistan, the official said the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah had not announced yet, although it was expected before the advent of Ramazan. Earlier, Secretary Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sardar Ajaz Ahmad Khan Jaffar during a meeting with Saudi Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr Abdelfattah bin Suleiman Mashat on the sidelines of Conference and Exhibition of Hajj and Umrah Services titled “Transformation toward Innovation” in Jeddah asked for early signing of an agreement for smooth sailing of the Hajj operation. He was of the view that an early agreement would help the Religious Ministry frame the Hajj policy, including the timeframe for submission of applications by intending pilgrims and rest of the arrangements in an appropriate manner. It is pertinent to mention here that the Religious Ministry had taken all possible anticipatory measures for smooth operation of Hajj this year. In this regard, the ministry had floated tenders for the procurement of 40,000 doses each of Meningococcal (Meningitis ACYW-135) and Quadrivalent / Tetravalent Seasonal Influenza vaccines. It had also invited expression of interest from the scheduled banks to collect applications of the intending pilgrims while talks were underway with private airlines for the transportation of the pilgrims to Saudi Arabia and back.