Benten signs Haj agreements with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka


Saudi Gazette

— Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh signed the bilateral Haj agreement on Sunday night.

The agreement related to the arrangements for pilgrims from the south Asian country was signed by Minister of Haj and Umrah Mohammed Saleh Benten and Bangladesh's Minister of Religious Affairs Motiur Rahman at the Haj Ministry's office in Makkah.

The Bangladeshi delegation commended the Haj arrangements and praised the services offered by the Kingdom to pilgrims, said a statement issued by the Haj Ministry.

The visiting minister also acknowledged the consummate facilities provided to the pilgrims and thanked Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman for their care toward pilgrims, the statement said.

A total of 127,198 pilgrims from Bangladesh will perform Haj this year, said Mohammed Maqsud Rahman, Haj consul at the Bangladeshi Consulate General in Jeddah.

He said there would no change in the country's pilgrimage quota, which will continue to be same as last year.

The agreement was signed following high-level discussions, which was attended by Deputy Minister of Haj Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat, Secretary of Bangladesh's Ministry of Religious Affairs Md. Anisur Rahman, Consul General Borhan Unddin and other senior officials.

Unlike other countries, the vast majority of pilgrims from Bangladesh come for Haj through private tour operators.

Only about 10,000 pilgrims are expected to perform Haj through the government mission while private tour groups will make the arrangements for the rest of the pilgrims.

Bangladesh is trying to introduce e-immigration with the coordination of the Saudi authorities for its pilgrims. Under the facility, the pilgrims can get pre-clearance at the embarkation points in the country — Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong and Osmani International Airport in Sylhet.

Earlier, Sri Lanka signed the annual Haj agreement with Saudi Arabia.

M.H.A. Haleem, minister of postal services and Muslim religious affairs, signed the agreement with Benten, according to the Haj Ministry.