Tents for pilgrims from Qatar made ready in Mina and Arafat


Saudi Gazette

MAKKAH — Tents in Mina and Arafat have been made ready for the pilgrims from Qatar who were prevented by their government from coming to Haj.

Rafat Badr, chairman of the tawafa establishment for pilgrims from South Asia, said the tents have been supplied with all the necessary facilities and are only 600 meters away from the Jamarat.

According to the Minister of Haj and Umrah Mohammed Saleh Benten, a number of Qatari pilgrims have already arrived in the Kingdom and some more were expected. "We will provide the Qatari pilgrims with food from five-star hotels while their tents in Arafat have been supplied with air-conditioned sitting rooms," Badr said.

He said the establishment was ready to welcome the Qatari pilgrims and will provide them with comfortable transport from Makkah to the holy sites.

"We will provide the pilgrims from Qatar with all the services that will enable them do their Haj rites in ease, peace and comfort," he added.

Meanwhile, emir of Makkah, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who is the chairman of the Central Haj Committee, said attempts to politicize the pilgrimage are old and are recurring every year without any success.

"These are just lies and fabrications aimed at distorting the image of the Kingdom at a time that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman's instructions were clear and binding to provide the guests of God with the best services that will enable them do their Haj in peace, comfort and security," he said.

The emir said the Kingdom was intent on making the Haj an enjoyable journey of faith and will leave no stone unturned to reach this noble objective.

Al-Faisal said the extensive use of modern technology has facilitated the Haj procedures and reduced the time of the completion of the grouping of buses transporting pilgrims at the police checkpoints to about 20 minutes only.

"We have a plan to upgrade the buses transporting pilgrims this year under which buses should be new and not more than three years old," he said.

On the other hand, the Authority to Develop Makkah has said it would consider building multi-story tents at the center of the valley in Mina and will establish building complexes at the bottom of the mountains.

The authority said it would separate the pedestrian pilgrims from the cars completely and will establish a tunnel for the ambulance and service cars.

The authority also said more than 350,000 pilgrims will be transported by the Mashaer train from Mina to Arafat. It said the first trip would be at midnight Sunday.

Jalal Kaakai, spokesman of the authority, said the price of the ticket throughout the entire Haj days would be SR250. "The ticket is made into a shape of a bracelet in various colors to be used by the pilgrims while boarding the train," he said.

The spokesman said the Mashaer train would transport the domestic and the GCC pilgrims in addition to Hajjis from the Arab countries, South Asia, Turkey, Europe and the US. Kaaki said the train will have 12 compartments and will transport about 3,000 pilgrims in each trip.

The department of passports (Jawazat) has sentenced six Saudis and an expatriate to various terms of imprisonment and fines for transporting illegal pilgrims. It said the expatriate, a Pakistani national, will be deported to his home after serving his prison term of 15 days. According to the Jawazat, the fines ranged from SR20,000 to SR110,000 in addition to the codification of the vehicle.

The ministry of health, which denied the spread of any contagious or quarantine diseases during this year's Haj, said it had vaccinated as many 1,647,351 pilgrims at the various air, land and sea inlets against a number of diseases consisting of meningitis, yellow fever and small box.

The ministry said its hospitals in Makkah and Madinah have conducted 187 catheter and 10 open heart surgeries in addition to 488 minor and major surgical operations as well as 1,280 cases of dialysis.

It said its hospitals have provided medication to 280,773 while its health clinics received 17,280 and health centers 246,156 sick pilgrims.

The ministry said 1,650 pilgrims have been confined to hospitals and nine women delivered in its hospitals.