Pilgrims facing woes as Umrah visa crisis worsens


Islamabad, June 9 (TNS): Tens of thousands Umrah pilgrims facing trouble as Umrah-visa crisis hit Saudi Consulate in Karachi.

Confirmed air tickets and hotel bookings of thousands pilgrims, applied for Umrah visa in holy month of Ramazan, have been cancelled.

Royal embassy of the Kingdom in Islamabad already flooded with visa applications and now this crisis reached to Karachi where Saudi Consulate has been closed for three days and asked the travel agents not to submit pilgrims’ passports from June 6 to June 9.

Travel agents also facing huge pressures as confirmed air tickets and hotel reservations in Makkah and Madina were being cancelled as pilgrims could not get visas in due dates.

Travel agents blamed owners of “Drop Box” for the crisis as agents accused that these owners were blackmailing them by making monopoly.

Saudi government announced that there is no quota on Umrah pilgrimage this year and nonstop visas to be issued till Shawal 15 but Drop Box owners made extra money by taking Rs. 3,000 to 10,000 bribe from pilgrims.

Pilgrims demanded the ministry of religious affairs and Saudi ambassador to take immediate notice of this crisis to address the grievance of Umrah pilgrims.