Updated: 27 March 2020 | Ibadat.pk | Hajj Desk: After the recently flurry of messages on social media and WhatsApp (regarding cancellation of Hajj 2020), Minister of Religious Affairs, Pir Noorul Haq Qadri held a press conference on Thursday (26 March) in which he clarified Saudi Arabia has not yet taken any decision to call off this year’s Haj, putting an end to rumours that Riyadh has decided to cancel the event due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Saudi Arabia has only told us not to finalise any Haj-related agreement for the time being. A final decision will be taken by King Salman himself,” Pir Noorul Haq Qadri told the press conference.
Saudi Arabia on Thursday has sent directives to Pakistan stating that any Hajj preparation work should be temporarily halted due to the coronavirus panic, according to a letter received from the Hajj Ministry of the kingdom. Religious Affairs Minister Noor-ul-Haq Qadri consequently halted work on the upcoming Hajj agreement.
Saudi Haj Minister Dr Mohammad Saleh bin Taher had advised the government not to finalise any agreement regarding hotels, provision of food and transport arrangements during this time as the matter at hand is uncertain due to the lockdown and containment measures against the novel coronavirus.
In the letter, Dr Mohammad Saleh said the Saudi government was monitoring the situation and would get in touch with Pakistan as soon as it felt that the virus outbreak had eased.
“The government has conveyed the Saudi message to all Haj operators and put on hold arrangements for the time being,” the minister said.
“But we are in touch with the Saudi Haj and Umrah ministry.”
Since Hajj complex in Islamabad had been converted into a quarantine centre, the training of government hujjaj stod suspended – according to the press conference held by Pir Noorul Haq Qadri
The Ministry of Religious Affairs had conducted Haj ballot for the government scheme last month which saw a 31% reduction in year on year government Hajj Applications, but this was not due to coronavirus fear.
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