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Pakistani youth walking from Okara to Makkah for Hajj pilgrimage again facing visa issues

TEHRAN: Usman Arshad, a resident of Punjab’s Okara district who already started his once-in-a-lifetime ‘dream journey’ on foot to the holy city of Makkah and currently reached Tehran, is again facing visa issues.

While speaking to The Pakistan Daily, Usman said that I didn’t get visas for Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.

“Unfortunately, I have some visa problems on this trip that the Foreign Ministry can assist with. In my journey, I will pass through Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait to reach Saudi Arabia and must obtain these visas,” he said.

“I am already in Iran but facing difficulties in obtaining Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia visas,” he added.

“I wrote to embassies, tweeted for help, and even went to several offices, but officials are saying that case is under process,” Usman said.

Usman Arshad added, “On August 11, 2022, I met with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto. Bilawal issued orders to the relevant DG to solve the problems but yet the issue is not solved.”

Usman Arshad is walking to Makkah to arrive in time for the 2023 Hajj pilgrimage, carrying only a small backpack and a black umbrella.

With the Pakistani flag pin on his shirt, he began the journey from his hometown Okara on October 1 and hopes to reach his destination in about eight months.

Arshad will reach Saudi Arabia, travelling through Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait. The trip is around 5,400km and he is walking an average of 30 to 40km each day. Arshad also plans to visit religious sites in Iran and Iraq on his way to Makkah.

Sharing the details of items in his bag pack, Arshad said it contains a few clothes, a mobile phone, a charger and power bank, an umbrella, a torch, water bottles, and a medicine kit. “If I need anything else, I’d just buy it but I don’t want to carry heavy stuff that slows down my pace,” he said.

Last year, Arshad also walk from Okara to the Khunjerab Pass on the Pakistan-China border, known as the highest border crossing in the world, in 34 days.

Raja Furqan Ahmed

Raja Furqan Ahmed is the News Editor of The Pakistan Daily.

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