Nov 19, 2020, 12:25 PM
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Pakistan keen to sign MoU with Iran to facilitate pilgrims

Islamabad, Nov 19, IRNA -- Pakistan's Minister of Religious Affairs says that his government is determined to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Islamic Republic of Iran to facilitate pilgrims for enhancing religious tourism.

Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said this while chairing a meeting on Thursday in Islamabad to discuss the formulation of a comprehensive pilgrimage policy.

During the meeting, attended by senior representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Finance, Development and Planning, Roads and Transportation and Security Institutions, issue of facilitating the Pakistani pilgrims intended to visit Iran was discussed in detail under the instructions of the cabinet.

Ministry of Religious Affairs in statement said that Pakistan will implement a comprehensive policy to facilitate the pilgrims going to Iran and Iraq which would also strengthen religious tourism.

Minister Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said the government would not spare any effort to facilitate the pilgrims going to holy places in Iran and Iraq.

Explaining the features of Pakistan's comprehensive pilgrimage policy, he said pilgrimage groups will be formed on the pattern of Hajj and Umrah by tour operators.

He added temporary accommodation, medical and transport facilities for pilgrims will be improved in Quetta and Taftan border.

Regarding pilgrimages to the holy shrines during Arbaeen, the Pakistani Minister said the government will deploy additional staff in Baghdad, Karbala and Najaf to facilitate pilgrims and pilgrim group operators.

He stressed the necessary infrastructure will be provided at the Taftan border and the renovation of roads leading to the border between Pakistan and Iran is also on the agenda.

Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri went on to say Pakistan is keen to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iranian and Iraqi governments to facilitate visitors.

In mid-July this year, the Pakistani Ministry of Religious Affairs submitted its plans to cabinet to formulate a comprehensive policy for Shiite pilgrims intending to visit Iran.

A special subcommittee of the cabinet was formed and was tasked for finalizing the consultations.

Every year, 120,000 Pakistanis travel to Iran, Iraq and Syria for religious and cultural tourism.

Due to the difficulty of land travel for Pakistani pilgrims and the unfortunate events, Prime Minister Imran Khan issued special instruction two years ago to solve the problems of pilgrims at the Taftan border crossing.

The government of Pakistan, emphasizing adherence to a comprehensive policy to facilitate the travel of Pakistani pilgrims to Iran and Iraq, last year decided to implement a comprehensive policy on the pattern of Hajj and Umrah for Shiite pilgrims. It also decided to activate the sea line and launching special flights for pilgrims.

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