Federal Ministry of Religious Affairs Monday said only a few thousand people may be able to perform Hajj in 2021 amid the COVID-19 situation as Hajj agreements between the Pakistan Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Saudi government have not yet been signed.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs is in touch with the Saudi government regarding Hajj policy.
Preparations for Hajj 2021 have been badly affected amid the COVID-19 epidemic, the TV channel reported. The Religious Affairs Ministry said Hajj agreements will be made only after getting permission from the Saudi government.
This year too, only a few thousand people could perform the Hajj as Saudi Arabia only allowed the people already in the country to perform the Hajj amidst the coronavirus.
HAJJ PORTAL AND SMART CARD LAUNCHED
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah launched a new Hajj platform and smart card to link operations and services of all sectors under the ministry. Smart ID cards will be issued for each pilgrim containing their personal, medical and residential information, reported Saudi Gazette.
The card would also contribute to guiding pilgrims to their accommodation at the holy sites and control access to it and to various other facilities, in addition to its role in reducing the illegal pilgrimage.
These initiatives are launched as part of the proposals mooted at the Makkah Cultural Forum.
The smart card operates by means of Near-field communication (NFC), which is a short-range wireless connectivity technology that lets NFC-enabled devices communicate with each other.
It also enables the card to be read through the Kiosk self-service devices deployed at the holy sites, and the card contains a barcode that is read by workers to know the pilgrim’s data.
The ministry was one of the first participants with the smart card initiative in the Makkah Cultural Forum of 2020.
The smart card will be activated during the Hajj season of 2021. The card was used during the Hajj season of 2019 on an experimental basis, with the distribution of 50,000 cards among a section of pilgrims.
The card is considered as one of the outcomes of Vision 2030 initiatives, and the implementation of the initiative proved to be a successful model for the application of technologies in serving pilgrims.
The card will be administered through a unified centre to control all services.