JEDDAH: Minister of Haj Bandar Hajjar said Tuesday that the reduction in the number of pilgrims is a temporary measure for the safety of Hajis until the completion of the expansion projects at the two holy mosques.
He said the number of domestic pilgrims will be reduced by 50 percent, while the number of foreign pilgrims will be reduced by 20 percent.
He used this announcement to stress the importance of obtaining prior approval from the Ministry of Culture and Information before any country announces media activities for Haj events.
He also noted that the ministry recently changed the name of the “Haj Mission” to “The Office of Pilgrims Affairs”, while the Haj Medical Mission’s name has been changed to the “Medical Office” to avoid any confusion on the part of Haj Missions concerning the job description and the tasks it assumes.
“Some missions think that they acquire a diplomatic or consulate status in this regard and demand the granting of special privileges or immunities similar to those enjoyed by embassies and the general consulate”, said the minister. He added: “The fact is that the tasks of these missions are only administrative, and are aimed at helping their pilgrims and supervise their organizations.”
Hajjar noted that the ministry received the heads of the 53 Pilgrims’ Affairs Offices in the Kingdom recently. They were all hosted by the ministry at its own expense. The meetings are to remain ongoing at various times for three months to discuss the Haj arrangements for each Muslim country.
Article by: arabnews.com