Country tops in Umrah pilgrims to KSA

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has been on top of the list of the countries whose citizens visited Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah pilgrimage since the season started on August 31 of this year. As many as 2,031,751 Umrah visas were issued visas since the season started about four months ago and a total of 1,566,754 pilgrims arrived the country, according to a report issued by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. According to official statistics by the Kingdom, over 4,00,000 Pakistani citizens performed Umrah during the period. The Saudi ministry said as many as 411,140 pilgrims have come from Pakistan which tops all the countries in the number of Umrah pilgrims. Among other countries 368,193 pilgrims from Indonesia, 221,956 from India, 97,709 from Malaysia, 65,083 from Turkey, 53,962 from Egypt, 47,962 from Bangladesh, 45,950 from Algeria, 29,544 from the United Arab Emirates and 23,926 from Jordan. Talking to an Arabic newspaper, Pakistan’s Religious Affairs Ministry Spokesman Imran Siddiqui said one of the reasons behind the growing number of pilgrims from Pakistan is the strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries. The Saudi authorities said a total of 1,221,304 pilgrims have left the Kingdom after completing their Umrah rituals and visiting Madinah to pay homage to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and pray at his mosque. – Agencies