New security plan for Hajj in place
Makkah, Oct 16: Makkah Governor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has said that the Kingdom would combat all kinds of violations and bad practices during the upcoming Hajj such as unauthorized pilgrims squatting on roads, which he said disrupted the movement of legitimate Hajis. The government has prepared plans aimed at increasing the comfort of pilgrims, he said.
“Whoever intends to perform Hajj should obey the rules and regulations,” the prince said.
Prince Khaled, who is chairman of the Central Hajj Committee in Makkah, was speaking while launching a media campaign to enlighten domestic pilgrims on Hajj regulations at a function in Makkah.
The campaign focused on the regulation that all citizens should obtain a permit from the civil status department and expatriates from the Passport Department if they intended to perform Haj. They should also be careful not to be duped by fake Haj agents and not to travel in vehicles operated by illegal operators.
The campaign, with the motto “Hajj is a worship and civilized conduct,” will also launched on social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
“The strategy of this year’s media campaign is to urge pilgrims to adhere to the instructions and regulations on Hajj and outlining the punishments to violators of regulations,” the prince said.
Representatives of 30 government departments and private agencies offering Hajj services attended the function.
Participants in the campaign, sponsored by Mobily, include the Ministry of Hajj, the Ministry of Culture and Information and the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, among other ministries and the Civil Defense.
“A special security unit has been set up to prevent individuals who do not possess valid Haj permits from entering Makkah and other holy places,” said Maj. Gen. Nasser Al-Arfaj, commander of Hajj security forces. “We have deployed 400 officers to monitor and stop those who try to sneak into the Hajj zone through desert roads,” the commander said, adding that desert roads would be monitored from the air.
Addressing a press conference in Mina, Gen. Al-Arfaj said there are some changes in this year’s Haj security plan compared to last year, especially in traffic and transport matters, after conducting extensive studies along with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs. “We have also taken into consideration the lessons we have learned in the past years while preparing the plan and adopted new methods that would improve services and make pilgrims happy,” he said.
Al-Arfaj said most officers deployed on Haj duty have gained a lot of experience in handling pilgrims in an efficient manner. “We have set up check points at all entrances to Makkah. This will prevent the entry of those who do not possess valid Haj permits and reduce the number of illegal pilgrims,” he added. He said there is no big change in the traffic plan for the movement of pilgrims between the holy sites of Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa during the peak days of Haj. The Mashair Railway will transport more than 400,000 pilgrims this year and reduce the number of buses on the road, he pointed out.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Oct 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Oct 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 17 Oct 2011 00:00:00 IST
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