Riyadh to end Hajj quota cut in 2016

Tehran, Sept 16, IRNA – As the expansions of the Grand Mosque are about to be completed, Saudi Hajj Ministry announced that pilgrim quotas for each country will increase starting from next hajj season, stressing that 2015 will witness the last cut in the number of pilgrims.

“Starting from next Hajj season, the number of pilgrims will increase to 5 million and then to 30 million in the coming five years,” the minister was quoted as saying to a local publication, Arab News reported on Monday, September 14. The number of people from different nationalities permitted to perform the hajj has been decreased for years over safety reasons due to construction work to expand the space of the Grand Mosque. The minister added that hajj visas will be granted only through a unified electronic system after coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “As for internal pilgrims, the ministry also established an electronic system which allows citizens and residents to file applications requesting permits … through the hajj service provider of his choice, and to select the service segments he wants and pay electronically the value of the services provided,” the minster added. The announcement came a few days after the death of at least 107 pilgrims in the crash of a huge crane in the Grand Mosque in Makkah. **1664