Ban on Umra visas to be lifted following safety mechanism: Saudi envoy

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The Saudi Ambassador in Islamabad Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki has said that ban on issuance of Umra and visit visas will be lifted after introducing a safety mechanism.

Talking to the Federal Minister of Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri who met him at the Saudi Embassy here on Friday, Al-Malki said that ban on issuance of visas had been imposed on visitors of 72 countries to Saudi Arabia as a precautionary measure. “The ban has been imposed for a temporary period and it will be lifted after adopting a safety mechanism,” he said.

The Saudi envoy told the minister that all the expired visas of Pakistani Umra Zaireen would be extended so that they did not face any difficulties. A statement issued by the Ministry of Religious Affairs said that the Ministry was continuously in contact with the Saudi government on the issue.

The two sides also agreed to hold another meeting in Islamabad, next week. Meanwhile, the Minister in a video message rejected reports circulating on social media that condition of producing a declaration for intending pilgrims on belief in ‘Khatam-e-Nabuwwat (SAW) has been lifted. “There is no truth in such reports. Every intending pilgrim will have to sign or fix thumb impression on the declaration,” the minister said.

He clarified that the document circulating on social media was a data form whereas the written declaration or affidavit exists on a separate page. “We have complete faith on Khatam-e-Nabuwwat (SAW) and cannot even think of deviating from it,” he said.