Hajj pilgrims offered ‘unprecedented’ services this year: Abid
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Ministry of Hajj and Islamic Affairs (MoHIA) on Sunday said services provided to Afghan hajj pilgrims this year were unprecedented and 12 of the pilgrims died during the performance of the annual pilgrimage and four others were detained over pick-pocketing.
Acting MoHIA minister Daiul Haq Abid, explaining the hajj operations to the Meshrano Jirga’s general session, said of the 24,000 Afghan pilgrims, 6,779 had arrived so far from Saudi Arabia on 17 flights.
The remaining 17,000 pilgrims would return over the next two weeks, he said.
Calling this year’s services offered to pilgrims unprecedented, he said the hajj process from the aspects of management, transparency, food, residency, transport and guiding had been better and the pilgrims were satisfied.
He said 12 of the pilgrims had died during the performance of the hajj while eight others fell ill and were currently under treatment. Four others were detained over pick pocketing and were currently under investigation by Saudi police.
One of the Afghan pilgrims had gone missing during the Hajj, but police were investigating about the issue, he said.
To a question about sermons by prayer leaders in mosques, Abid said, “From 160,000 mosques, only 5,000 of them are registered with the MoHIA and are overseen.”
However, he said efforts were underway to register all mosques in the country and present a single Khutbah in all of them.
Abid added more than 13,000 acres of land belonged to the ministry had been usurped by other government departments and powerful individuals. However, he did not name any department or person.
The MoHIA collects around 60 million afghanis income from 35 acres of land it owns yearly, he said. The amount of revenue would increase once the usurped land was recovered, he added.
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