ISLAMABAD: The first Hajj flight will leave for Saudi Arabia from Lahore on September 9 as the month long pre-Hajj operation is set to begin from 9 of next month and will continue till October 9, an official of the Ministry of Religious Affairs said.
The official said that post-Hajj flight operation will be initiated from October 20 and concluded on November 19, 2013.
A total of 143, 368 Pakistanis will perform the sacred religious ceremony this year including 86,021 under Government scheme, the official said. The ministry has already hired 122 buildings to accommodate Government Scheme Hujjaj, he added.
The official said that the PIA will operate a total of 214 Hajj flights from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Multan and Sialkot to Jeddah and Makkah.
In all, he said, the PIA will transport more than 70,000 intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia through 160 pre Hajj flights.
The official said that the Pakistan’s national airline will operate same number of flights for post Hajj operation.
The Saudi government has reduced Hajj quota by 20 percent this year due to ongoing construction of extending facilities at Khana e Kaaba. As many as 46,000 pilgrims will not perform the sacred religious obligations due to 20 percent quota cut imposed by the Saudi Government, he added.
The official said that the ministry has issued orders to the airlines to strictly adhere to depart and arrival schedule, on failure the heavy fine would be imposed on the airline.
The pilgrims are allowed to carry five liters of Zamzam (subject to conditions of Saudi government), he said.
Moreover, a committee comprising parliamentarians and officers will monitor the Hajj operation.