ISLAMABAD, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 21st july,2016) : Specializes in Haj and Umrah economics, Ahmad Sheikh Bafaqih said on thursday the number of Umrah pilgrims registered an increase compared to last year's numbers. He expected the arrival of 8 million Umrah pilgrims next year once most of the expansion works at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque are completed, an increase of 2 million Umrah pilgrims compared to this year's 6 million pilgrims, an estimated 30 percent increase, Saudi gazette reported.
He stressed on the concerted efforts of the Ministries of the Interior, Haj and Umrah, and the relevant authorities to meet the needs and wishes of most of the pilgrims who performed umrah during this last Ramazan in Makkah. Meanwhile, well-informed sources said the Ministry of Haj and Umrah halted the issuance of Umrah visas indefinitely for the season since the 16th of Ramadan. The sources said that the Umrah season this year saw an increase of 6.
99 percent from last year with 6,393,464 visas issued, an increase of 444,252 visas, while the number of pilgrims stood at 5,949,212 Umrah pilgrims. According to statistics, Egypt came first with 1,303,067 Umrah visas, up 17 percent from the last Umrah season; Pakistan with 991,337 Umrah visas and Indonesia in third place with 699,612 Umrah visas. The number of pilgrims coming from Turkey increased this year by 18,875 compared to last year, with total number of visas issued to Turkish pilgrims amounting to 473,672, making the country fourth on the list of countries in terms of the number of Umrah pilgrims.
Jordan came in fifth place with a total estimated visas of 434,479, while India this season added 77,077 Umrah pilgrims over last season, totaling about 409,639 Umrah visas. Algeria came seventh on the list with 371,949 Umrah visas, but second only to Pakistan in terms of the increase in the numbers of pilgrims, where the increase amounted to 28.51 percent. The data showed that Malaysia obtained 26,005 Umrah visas, an increase of 10 percent, and in ninth position came the United Arab Emirates with 187,289 Umrah visas, an increase of 12,919 pilgrims. Iraq recorded a drop in the number of Umrah pilgrims by about 10.22 percent compared to last season, with 168,406 Umrah visas issued. The remaining countries recorded a drop of 26.91 percent in the number of Umrah visas issued.