Hajj: Saudi Arabia deserves praise, not condemnation, says IHR

Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR) weekend said it was aware of the challenges faced in this year’s hajj exercise owing to recent change of policy by Saudi Arabian authorities regarding service provision to the guests of AR Rahman.

 These challenges, it said,  raised a lot of issues by hajj participating countries which were widely reported by the media.

IHR in a statement signed by its national coordinator, Ibrahim Muhammed, said, “It is sacrosanct that pilgrims deserve to be served commensurate to services paid for.

“However, serving over 2.3 million pilgrims by providing accommodation, transportation, feeding, medical services and guidance in the same place, at the same time requires multi departmental support and cooperation of all concerned,” the statement said.

The statement also said that most hajj participating countries have blamed Saudi based services providers for the epileptic services rendered this year, especially during the five-day stay at Mashaer.

“While, we acknowledge the grievances, we must also acknowledge that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia deserves commendation for her efforts in catering for increased demands of providing basic services for pilgrims all year round.

“Every year, officials at the Kingdom under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz and the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed Bin Salman, put on their thinking caps and design policies that will make hajj better than previous years.

“They always undertake review of the immediate past hajj operation and identify all areas of challenges and then come up with policies that will address these challenges. That is why countries witness new policies almost every year. It is aimed at making the hajj easier and better for the guests of Allah.

 “5- to 10 percent service failure does not amount to total failure deserving of complete condemnation,” IHR said.

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