According to the religion ministry of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia has lifted the 65-year-old age restriction and restored Pakistan’s pre-coronavirus Hajj quota of 179,210 pilgrims.
A once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to the holy sites in Makkah and Madinah known as the Hajj is required of every adult Muslim who is both financially and physically capable of doing so. It is one of the five main pillars of the Islamic faith.
During the worst of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, only 1,000 locals were permitted to perform the Hajj. The kingdom limited the annual pilgrimage to 60,000 domestic participants only in 2021, down from 2.5 million foreign pilgrims before the coronavirus outbreak.
Last year, the kingdom allotted 81,132 pilgrims to Pakistan. Additionally, there were age restrictions for international Hajj pilgrims, with a 65-year-old maximum. The Saudi health authorities also required that pilgrims receive immunizations that they had approved.
Mufti Abdul Shakoor, Pakistan’s Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, arrived in Jeddah on Monday to participate in the annual Hajj Conference.
The religious affairs minister received the draft of the annual Hajj agreement, which also eliminates Pakistan’s previous quota of 179,210 pilgrims and the 65-year-old age restriction, the ministry announced on Twitter.
مفتی عبدالشکور 🇸🇦 کی دعوت پر جدہ میں منعقدہ #حج کانفرنس میں شریک، آئندہ حج سے متعلق سائیڈ لائن ملاقاتیں، حج معاہدے کا مسودہ موصول، 🇵🇰 کوٹہ بحال، عمر کی حد ختم، حج درخواستیں فروری کے آخری میں طلب کرنے کا امکان، بینک اکاؤنٹ لازمی، #hajj2023 @MuftishakoorJUI @AmbassadorNawaf pic.twitter.com/wJ1Bv1zLy8— Ministry of Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony (@MORAisbOfficial) January 9, 2023
Shakoor reportedly asked the Hajj authorities in the kingdom to lower the cost of the pilgrimage in order to make the journey simpler for Pakistani pilgrims who wish to make it. According to the government, the Saudi minister for Hajj and Umrah reportedly promised Pakistan that it would take positive action in this area.