Islamic Ministry has revealed that Safa Hajj and Umrah Group failed to seek visa ahead of time for the pilgrims that were set to depart to Saudi Arabia on Thursday morning for Umrah.
Many pilgrims who have made payments to Safa Group for their Umrah trips were scheduled to depart to Saudi Arabia on Thursday morning. Safa Group announced the last-minute cancellation of the trip in the early hours of Thursday via a message to the pilgrims’ Viber group citing non-receipt of visas.
Islamic Ministry, in a statement released on Thursday night following their probe of the case, said Safa Group failed to seek visa ahead of time.
While Safa Group attributed the non-receipt of visas as a failure on Saudi Arabia’s Umrah visa-issuing agency’s side – Islamic Ministry denied the claim stating the non-receipt of visa had not been Saudi government’s fault.
The Ministry noted that Saudi Arabia provides an Umrah visit with a validity period of three months.
As per the Ministry, the visa service is provided by Saudi-approved agencies to Umrah groups. The visa service is also provided through Maldives Hajj Corporation.
Islamic Ministry expressed immense concern over the last-minute cancellation of the Umrah trip, especially due to its religious significance, after pilgrims made their payments.
They called on Safa Group to facilitate the departure of the pilgrims at the earliest without seeking any further payment from them.
The Ministry also urged Umrah groups to facilitate travel arrangements in accordance with the stipulated regulations to avoid a repeat of such an incident.