Pakistan Hajj: Seven Caterers Provide Meals in Madinah

Madinah: Seven catering companies engaged in providing meal Pakistan’s Hajj pilgrims 

Pakistan Hajj Mission at Madinah has made elaborate food arrangements for intending pilgrims staying in the city of Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), under the government scheme.

"We have selected seven catering companies out of 29 to provide three meals a day to the guests of Allah Almighty after a competitive bidding in a transparent manner," said Director Pakistan Hajj Mission Zia-ur-Rehman Khan in an interview with APP. /Nawaiwaqt/Nation 

The hiring process was initiated in November last year, following approval from the federal cabinet, and was completed in due course of time, ensuring quality food and hygiene standards at a rate of 35 Saudi Riyal per person.

For this purpose, a five-member committee was formed, headed by Director General (Hajj) Jeddah and comprising Director Hajj Madinah, Director Hajj Makkah, Commercial Council and Head of Chancellor Jeddah, to scrutinize bidders and select the best catering companies.

As part of the ministry's commitment to providing the "safest and healthiest" food to pilgrims, a stringent approval process has been implemented, ensuring strict monitoring of food quality. This rigorous evaluation is an integral part of the initial phase of meal provision, ensuring a thorough preparation process.

Designated officials have been deployed in the kitchens of the catering companies to closely monitor the entire process, from storing meals to transporting food in refrigerated units for distribution to pilgrims at their residences, under close scrutiny.

Answering a question, Director Zia-ur-Rehman claimed that the Pakistan Hajj package offered to its nationals was the lowest in the region, citing the example of India, where a Hajj pilgrim paid 15,000 Saudi Riyal without meals, while Pakistan charged 14,300 with meals. "There is a minimum expense of 1,400 Riyal for each pilgrim for 40 days."

The Production Manager of the 'Bahaar Haar' catering company told APP that they were currently preparing food for 28,000 Pakistani pilgrims, and the number would reach 40,000 in the peak Hajj season.

He said inspection teams from 5-6 Saudi departments, including Food & Drugs, the Firefighting department, and the Commerce Ministry, conducted regular visits to their production sites and kitchen, showing zero tolerance for any kind of negligence.

This scribe interacted with almost a dozen Pakistani Hujjaj and found everyone completely satisfied with the food quality and the best-serving arrangements made at their hotel accommodations by a neat and clean staff.

From May 17, Pakistani pilgrims who have completed their eight-day stay in Madinah will start departing for Makkah, the final convergence destination for the faithful arriving from across the world. They will travel to Makkah as "advanced caravans," wearing Ihram and reciting Talbiyah: "Labbaik Allahuma Labbaik (Here I am, O Allah, here I am!), Labbaik La Sharika Laka Labbaik (Here I am, no partner do You have, here I am), Inna Al-Hamda Wan-Ni'mata Laka Wal-Mulk (Indeed, all praise, grace, and sovereignty belong to You), La Sharika Laka Labbaik! (No partner do You have, here I am!).

Meanwhile, the number of Pakistan's intending Hajj pilgrims in Madinah under the government scheme reached 13,458, with the arrival of 3,614 more nationals through 15 flights from Lahore, Karachi, Multan, and Islamabad.

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