Digitized Hajj operation to help facilitate pilgrims


By Rehan Khan

ISLAMABAD, Jun 05 (APP):The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah while keeping in view the significance of modern technology has digitized the Hajj operation to help facilitate pilgrims through security and crowd management systems.

It has made the ‘smartphone’ mandatory for pilgrims to improve the performance of Hajj rituals and maintain their health with quality of services. It has urged the pilgrims to download mobile applications of ‘Tawakkalna’ and ‘Eatmarna’ in their latest hand gadgets as these two approved app services would help facilitate pilgrims in getting Umrah, Hajj and visit permits for the holy mosques in Makkah and Madina.

Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Additional Secretary Aftab Akbar Durrani said the intending pilgrims were being imparted technology-based training sessions at Haji Camps across the country. He said it was need of the hour for pilgrims to learn the usage of following apps before proceeding to the holy land of Saudi Arabia for performing the sacred obligation; otherwise, they may face many complications in smooth sailing of Hajj rites.

The ministry’s spokesperson Muhammad Umar Butt said the ministry had launched an updated electronic monitoring system for promptly redressal of pilgrims’ complaints and look after the Hajj operation with an aim to improve the quality of services.

The in-built mechanism had been launched in collaboration with Punjab Information Technology Board to make Hajj management easier for the government as well as pilgrims, he added. He said the system had an in-built mechanism of transferring the un-resolved complaints to the next tier of management for taking appropriate measures. A ‘daily situation report’ would be generated for the information of senior management, he maintained.

He said the monitoring system would also evaluate the performance of Hajj Group Organizers (HGOs) as it was a comprehensive portal with a variety of value-added features designed to cater the specific needs of all pilgrims. He said a helpline had also been dedicated for responding the queries and complaints for pilgrims besides developing android application named ‘Pak Hajj Moavin’ and Short Messaging Service for dissemination of information.

The monitoring and supervision mechanism of Hajj operation was being strengthened to check or review the performance of government and HGOs schemes in accordance with the contractual obligations and Hajj rules set by the host country, he added.

It is worth mentioning here that according to the Saudi government, the Hajj is open to those who have received approved COVID-19 vaccinations.

The pilgrims are required to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result performed within 72 hours of the time of departure to Saudi Arabia. The people above the age of 65 years could not perform Hajj this year.