Saudi Arabia has agreed to waive off an additional 2000 riyals tax imposed on Pakistanis to perform Umrah every year. Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman agreed to do this after PM Imran Khan’s request in his last visit to Kingdom.
Secretary of Religious Affairs Muhammad Mushtaq stated the news about fee waive agreement between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan while giving a briefing to the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs on Tuesday during a meeting with Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri.
The chairman further said that he has received many complains regarding the imposition of tax on performing more than one Umrah in two years. He said, “Saudi authorities want to discourage repeated Umrah by a few people. For this, the levy charged on and it was not discriminatory towards Pakistanis.”
However, this fee was waived off on the request of governments of Egypt and Turkey, the official added.
The prime minister Imran Khan, he said, took up the matter with Saudi authorities and they agreed to waive it off.
Saudi Arabia has restructured its visa system for pilgrims traveling for Hajj and Umrah. With the launch of the new system, pilgrims traveling to Kingdom for Hajj and Umrah, visitors and those requiring a transit visa will pay SAR300.
Saudi Arabia has been one of the hardest countries in the world for Non-Muslims and those who are not business persons or pilgrims. However, the government has been working to develop tourism as part of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s Vision 2030 economic initiatives.