Religion

77,000 Pakistani pilgrims return after Haj

ISLAMABAD:More than 77,000 Pakistani pilgrims have returned from Saudi Arabia after performing Haj since the beginning of post-Haj flights operation from November 20. The pilgrims were brought back to Pakistan by 183 flights from Jeddah and Madina airports. Pakistan International Airlines and Saudi Airlines are operating special Haj flights to complete the one-month post-Haj flight operation, a spokesman of the Ministry of Religious Affairs said here Tuesday.

Besides, he said, out of around 948 seasonal staff, medical mission, helpers of pilgrims and local helpers deployed at Jeddah, Makah and Medina to facilitate pilgrims, 508 have so far reached Pakistan after performing their Haj duties.

Commenting on medical facilities to Pakistani pilgrims in Saudi Arabia, he said a hospital and dispensaries equipped with paramedical staff including specialist doctors had been set up in Makah where provision of medicines was ensured. The spokesman said the medical mission attended 141,000 Pakistani pilgrims, out of these 640 were referred to the Saudi hospitals.

The ministry had provided medicines worth Rs24 million at the medical centres to ensure complete health cover to Pakistani pilgrims. He said 127 Pakistani intending pilgrims have died in Saudi Arabia mostly due to natural causes since October 11 after reaching the Holy Land to perform the religious obligation of Haj.

Input from Agencies

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Nabeel Malik

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