Hajj agencies on Monday urged the government to make diplomatic efforts with Saudi Arabia to accept Bangladeshi Umrah pilgrims with Sinopharm jabs.
They came up with the demand after the Saudi government decided not to allow any pilgrims inoculated with the Chinese vaccines without 14-day mandatory quarantine.
“We urge the government for making diplomatic efforts with the Saudi government so that they allow pilgrims with Sinopharm jabs,” HAAB President M Shahadat Hossain Taslim said.
HAAB leaders also requested the government to discuss with the Saudi authorities about resuming Dhaka-Madina direct flights as it would help cut travel time from Bangladesh to KSA.
State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md Mahbub Ali said the government is ready to resume Dhaka-Madina direct flights if the Saudi government gives their consent in this regard.
He also said that bilateral discussions were underway on this issue.
KSA Ambassador to Bangladesh Essa Yousef Essa Alduhailan said currently 60,000 pilgrims are allowed to perform Umrah due to the coronavirus pandemic. The number will increase in the future and more Bangladeshi pilgrims will be able to perform Umrah.
While addressing the webinar as the chief guest, State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Faridul Haque Khan thanked the Royal Saudi government for allowing Bangladeshis to perform Umrah.
He assured that his ministry would approach the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism for reducing the airfare for Umrah.
A total of 247 agencies were permitted to deal with Umrah, he said, adding that more agencies will be allowed to handle hajj travels.
Secretary to the Ministry of Religious Affairs Nurul Islam PhD, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Religious Affairs Gazi Uddin Md Monir, Bangladesh Hajj counsellor in Jeddah Jahirul Islam, Director (Hajj) Saiful Islam spoke in the programme.
Country manager of Saudi Arabia Airlines Tarik Alowaidi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal, HAAB Senior Vice President Maulana Yaqub Sharafati, Vice President Mohammad Shah Alam, Motahar Hossain Babul and HAAB general secretary Farooq Ahmad Sardar, also joined the webinar.