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The women officials who serving the Hajj pilgrims in Jakarta.

Cairo: Saudi women passport officials have expressed happiness and pride about having been dispatched to Indonesia to participate in a Saudi plan aimed to facilitate pre-departure procedures for Muslim pilgrims who will attend the upcoming Hajj season in the kingdom.

Amal Al Ghamdi and Nura Saad, originally working at the passport service at the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in the Saudi city of Jeddah, are among the personnel sent to Jakarta as part of the Saudi “Mecca Route” initiative.

Saudi Interior Ministry relaunched the “Mecca Route” initiative that gives pilgrims from five countries access to facilities including finalising Hajj-related procedures in their home countries.

The initiative, which kicked off on a trial basis in 2017, covers pilgrims from Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Morocco and Bangladesh.

“I’m honoured and very proud that they have chosen me this year as part of this initiative outside Jeddah at the Jakarta airport,” said Al Ghamdi.

“I’m very happy that I represent Saudi women in the Mecca Initiative. God willing, I’ll represent the kingdom in the best way,” said her colleague Saad in a video released by the Saudi Interior Ministry.

Facilities offered to pilgrims coming from the five countries include issuance of electronic visas at home, finalising passport procedures as well as tagging and sorting out luggage at the departure airports.

Accordingly, on arrival in Saudi Arabia, those pilgrims head directly to their residences in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina while their luggage are delivered right to their stay places.

Saudi Arabia has said it will allow 1 million pilgrims from inside and outside the kingdom to perform this year’s Hajj due next month, after restricting the annual ritual to some thousands of Muslims living inside the country for the last two years due to the pandemic.

Eligible pilgrims this year must be under 65, fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and present a negative PCR test result of a sample collected within 72 hours from departure to the kingdom.

About 2.5 million Muslims from around the world used to attend Hajj in Saudi Arabia every year before the pandemic.