Pakistan, Saudi Arabia sign air services agreement

Saudi minister says kingdom trying its best to bring down Hajj expenditure.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have signed an air services agreement to enhance cooperation in the aviation sector to facilitate citizens of the two countries.

The agreement was signed in Islamabad on Monday in the presence of Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Aneeq Ahmed and Saudi Minister for Hajj and Umrah Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah.

Later, addressing a joint news conference, Aneeq Ahmad said the agreement would soon yield positive results, especially for Pakistani pilgrims.         

Acknowledging provision of the best services and facilities to the Hajj and Umra pilgrims by the Saudi Government, he said Route to Makkah is benefiting the Pakistani intending pilgrims.

Aneeq Ahmed urged that more facilities should be provided to Pakistani pilgrims at Mina and Arafat. He also demanded that an alternative land should be provided for the construction of Pakistan House as the earlier location has been incorporated in the extension of Haram. He said Pakistani citizens of over 65 years should be exempted from biometric. 

Speaking on the occasion, the Saudi minister said the kingdom was trying its best to bring down the Hajj expenditure.  He said now the visa for Pakistani Umrah pilgrims will be valid for 90 days and they can visit historical sites of the kingdom as well besides performing Umrah.

He assured his hots that flights between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will be enhanced under the agreement.  

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