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Dhaka Tribune

KSA resumes Umrah services for Bangladeshis

Update : 21 Dec 2015, 09:20 PM

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has lifted its ban on Umrah services for Bangladeshi citizens.

The Saudi embassy in Dhaka sent a letter in this regard to the Ministy of Foreign Affairs on December 14.

The Foreign Ministry then notified the Ministry of Religious Affairs about the matter yesterday, said the Religious Ministry’s Public Relations Officer Anwar Hussain.

Primarily, 70 hajj agencies in the country will be permitted to provide the services, he said.

There are 300 Hajj agencies in the country, out of which 204 have been allegedly involved in irregular activities, and there have been complaints against them, he added.

Earlier on November 19, the Dhaka Tribune reported that Saudi Arabia has again opened its doors for Bangladeshis to perform Umrah, but from now on only six authorised travel agencies will be allowed to send people to the pilgrimage.

Qasswa, the certified Umrah service provider agency of the Saudi government, reached an agreement with six travel agencies in Bangladesh to resume the Umrah services here, said Riaz Mahmud, director of Qasswa, at a press conference in the capital’s Banani area during his visit last month.

The six travel agencies are Bicon Travel Agency, Jumar Travel and Tours, Panbright Travels, Priyanka Travels, Heritage Air Express and Ali Air Travels and Tourists.

The Saudi government banned the issuing of visas to Bangladeshi nationals for performing Umrah on March 22 this year, based on allegations of human trafficking in the name of Umrah. 

The Saudi government said more than 1,000 Bangladeshis had been living in the KSA illegally since they went there to perform Umrah last year.

Soon after noticing the matter, the Saudi government blacklisted Bangladesh and stopped issuing visas to Bangladeshis, the Dhaka Tribune reported earlier. 

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