Jawazat wraps up Haj services; bids farewell to 1,377,708 pilgrims

Hajjis Departing

The department of passports (Jawazat) announced on Sunday that it has wrapped up its Haj services which focused on serving the pilgrims on arrival and departure through the Kingdom’s airports, seaports and land border points.

A local daily quoted the Jawazat as saying that it has bidden farewell to a total of 1,377,708 pilgrims.

Maj. Gen. Dhaifallah Al-Huwaifi, commander of Jawazat Haj forces, said 621 pilgrims of various nationalities were deported back home because they were either carrying forged passports or fake Haj permits.

He said 76 Saudi and expatriate drivers, who were caught carrying illegal pilgrims, were fined an accumulative amount of SR3.74 million and sent to prison to serve various terms. He said the violating expatriates would be deported after serving their prison terms.

Huwaifi said the Jawazat used state-of-the-art technology in processing the pilgrims’ passports including the “eagle eye” device, which detects forged documents.

The Haj Ministry, on the other hand, said the last group of 2,500 pilgrims left Makkah for Jeddah on Wednesday on their way home through King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA). “This was the last group of pilgrims remaining in Makkah,” the ministry’s assistant undersecretary Abdul Rahman Al-Nifaie said.

He said only the hospitalized pilgrims will remain in the holy city and will leave after recovery. According to the ministry, the Haj season, which started at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, was officially declared over on Wednesday, Muharram 15 (Oct. 28).

The assistant undersecretary, on the other hand, said three specialized committees, constituted by the ministry, would start during the next few days to consider the violations committed by the Tuwafa establishments, the domestic Haj-companies and the external service providers.

He said the committees would verify the violations and decide the suitable punishments against the violators. Nifaie said the surveillance committees of the ministry have conducted between 25,000 and 30,000 field inspection tours against the Tuwafa establishment and the Haj service providing companies.

He said one of the three committees would consider the violations committed by the Tuwafa establishments, the second will study the violations of the domestic Haj companies and the third will consider the shortcomings of the external companies.

He said the ministry is concerned with providing excellent services to the guests of God and was closely observing the commitment of the domestic and external Haj companies to its standing rules of furnishing the pilgrims with consummate services that will enable them, do their Haj rites in peace, ease and comfort.

“The ministry will not hesitate to punish any company or Tuwafa establishment which is found to be slackening in its services. It will also reward those who have done well,” he said.

Pilgrims who may opt to remain in the Kingdom after Oct. 28 will be considered as overstayers and will be dealt with according to the laws and regulations of residency.


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