Jeddah: The Saudi Government has announced that it will still act on it decision of cutting down the quota of foreign pilgrims by 20% and the local pilgrims by 50% owing to the expansion works that are still going on in the Masjid-ul-Haram. The Saudi government has stated that it will keep this decision till the next year. Representative of the Ministry of Hajj, Hatim-ul-Qadri stated to the media that the expansion works in the Holy Mosque of Makkah are still in progress and hence it was imperative to keep the number of pilgrims visiting the Mosque minimum.
Hatim-ul-Qadri revealed that last year, the number of pilgrims was 1980249. Out of these about 1379531 were foreign pilgrims, while 600718 were local pilgrims. This year also the same amount of pilgrims will be permitted to visit the Mosque for the pilgrimage. He said that the local residents should go for Hajj once in every five years.
Hatim-ul-Qadri informed media that the biggest expansion project was being carried out in Masjid-ul-Haram that will increase the capacity of 22 lac pilgrims in the mosque. The area of Mutaf will be able to hold 1 lac 5 thousand pilgrims at a time, which will be twice its original capacity. He stated that the courtyards of the Mosque will also be expanded, which will eventually decrease the density of the people in the vicinity of the mosque.