ISLAMABAD: Over 8,000 intending Hajj pilgrims have been airlifted to Saudi Arabia by the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
Sources in the Ministry of Religious Affairs told APP on Wednesday that the PIA had so far operated 25 flights from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta,airlifting more than 8,000 pilgrims, who were selected on first come first serve basis under the government Hajj scheme.
This year, they said, around 142,000 Pakistanis would perform Hajj under the government and private schemes.
The sources said the month-long pre-Hajj flight operation started on August 27. Besides PIA, Flynas, Shaheen and Saudi Airlines are airlifting the pilgrims to the holy land.
The Hajj flight operation was going smoothly as no complaint had been received about any delay, they added.
The sources said the PIA had reserved some aircraft to meet any emergent situation. Muavneen-e-Hujjaj had been advised to provide every possible help to the pilgrims and redress their complaints.
An 11-member advisory committee had been formed to monitor the Hajj operation and suggest measures to improve future operations for providing maximum facilities to the pilgrims, they added.
It may be mentioned that a 432-member Hajj Medical Mission, including 144 doctors and 188 paramedical staff is already in Saudi Arabia. Three hospitals and eight dispensaries with sufficient stock of medicines have been set up in Makkah and Madina.
Last year, the ministry had provided medicines of around Rs 60 million at medical centres established in Saudi Arabia to treat the pilgrims.