Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia asks Pakistan not to finalize Hajj agreement


By Muhammad Luqman
Saudi Arabia has told Pakistan not to prepare a Hajj agreement this year as the coronavirus , the pandemic spread across the globe, has brought everything to a standstill, according to a letter received from the kingdom.
In the letter sent to Pakistan’s Religious Affairs Minister Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Saudi Hajj and Umrah Minister Dr Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten said there should be no agreement this time owing to the lockdown and containment measures against the novel coronavirus.
The kingdom, according to Dr Mohammad Saleh, was continuously monitoring the situation and said that it will inform as soon as a marked improvement regarding the coronavirus was observed.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony had conducted balloting for the government’s Hajj scheme under which almost 100,000 pilgrims were picked to would go to Saudi Arabia to perform the annual pilgrimage later this year.
COVID-19 is believed to be similar to SARS and MERS, also caused by different types of coronavirus . These were handled by Saudi government very well in regards to the safety of people.
But this time, Saudi Arabia while seeing the upward trajectory of the spread of the COVID-19, has already banned Umra pilgrims. In case of no Hajj this year, Saudi economy may suffer a loss upto US $ 12 billion, according to media reports.


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