Planning on performing Umrah? Well, starting now all the Umrah pilgrims will have to be fingerprinted before they proceed with their holy journey, reports The Nation.
The pilgrims will have to pay a fee for the entire process. It is not clear how much will they be paying to get their fingerprints recorded.
The Travel Agents Association of Pakistan (TAAP) have expressed dismay over this decision citing that it will not only add to the miseries of the pilgrims but will also put the security of the Pakistan at stake.
Reportedly, the firm that is supposed to collect the fingerprint data of the pilgrims is not Pakistani but a Dubai based company where one of its directors is an Indian national. Previously, the Saudi government suspended the decision but after two years is ready to implement it again.
The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia has relayed the decision to Ministry of Religious Affairs Islamabad and Haj and Umrah Travel Agencies via letter. According to the letter issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh, all visas would be activated after biometric registration including those of Hajj and Umrah.
The travel agencies would work beside VFS/Tasheel, the company that is assigned to collect the fingerprint data of the pilgrims. The new measure may prove to be a security threat for not just for the country but also for its citizens.