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18 August, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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Saudi embassy extends Hajj visa period for two days

STAFF REPORTER

Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Dhaka extended visa period for Hajj pilgrims for 2 more days after the religious affairs ministry yesterday sent a letter to the Saudi embassy, requesting it to extend the visa period for Bangladeshi Hajj pilgrims. HAAB secretary general Shahadat Hossain Taslim told The Independent that the Saudi embassy had informed him that the embassy would issue visa for Bangladeshi pilgrims for two more days-today and tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Biman Bangladesh Airlines authorities yesterday cancelled a couple of more scheduled Hajj flights because of the shortage of Hajj passengers.

Around 4,000 pilgrims would not be able to perform Hajj this year if the Saudi embassy does not accede to the ministry’s request.  A total of 73,183 pilgrims from Bangladesh had reached Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj till 8am yesterday, Hajj officer Syful Islam told The Independent yesterday. “The agency owners are yet to submit the passports of around 4,000 pilgrims to the Saudi embassy,” he said in reply to a query.

Earlier, the Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) submitted an application to the religious affairs ministry to extend the visa period for Hajj pilgrims.

“We have already sent a request letter to the Saudi embassy to extend the visa period till Monday. Considering the weekly holidays on Friday and Saturday, we have requested the embassy to take passports on Sunday and deliver the visas on Monday,” Abdul Jalil, secretary of the religious affairs ministry, told this correspondent.

Some pilgrims are yet to submit their passports to the authorities, thanks to the lack of communications, he added. The flights—BG-1073 and BG-5073—were scheduled to take off for Saudi Arabia at 6:05am and 1:25 pm on Thursday respectively, but were cancelled on account of the shortage of Hajj passengers, Shakil Meraj, general manager (public relations) of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, told this correspondent.

With this cancellation, a total of 25 dedicated Hajj flights has been cancelled so far since the first day of Hajj flight operations on July 24. Earlier, Saudi Arabian Airlines had also cancelled its four scheduled flights because of the same reason. Some 127,198 pilgrims were scheduled to perform Hajj from Bangladesh this year, under both government and private arrangements.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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