PESHAWAR, 5 December: The Saudi government has extended the deadline of biometric verification for Pakistani Umrah pilgrims till 1 January, 2018.
A statement issued from the Saudi embassy said Saudi Arabia highly respects the Pakistani people and wants to facilitate the Umrah and Hajj pilgrims from Pakistan. The statement said the deadline for biometric verification for Pakistani pilgrims has been extended till 1 January to give Etimad company more time to set up its offices and make all preparations for facilitating the people who come for biometric verification. All Pakistanis will get Saudi visas without biometric verification before 1 January.
The Saudi government had declared biometric verification mandatory for citizens of Pakistan and some other countries from 30 October. It had given the contract of biometric verification to Etimad company which had only three offices in Pakistan due to which the visitors were facing a lot of difficulties. Protests were also staged in different parts of the country against imposition of this condition by the Saudi government.