Boosting Religious Tourism: Sindh and Iraq Discuss Joint Cooperation

Boosting Religious Tourism: Sindh and Iraq Discuss Joint Cooperation

A diplomatic meeting between representatives of Pakistan and Iraq.
Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah and Hamid Abbas Lafta in a meeting discussing religious tourism and cultural promotion.

Recently, a significant meeting took place between Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah, the Sindh Provincial Minister for Culture and Tourism, and Hamid Abbas Lafta, the Iraqi Ambassador. The main focus of their discussion was the potential of religious tourism, cultural promotion, and joint cooperation between the two regions.

During the meeting, Minister Shah highlighted the challenges faced by pilgrims from Sindh during Muharram. He proposed a solution: the establishment of an office in Karachi. This office would facilitate the large number of pilgrims traveling from Sindh to Iraq. “Having an office in Karachi will provide facilities to Sindh pilgrims and enable direct access to people, reducing their dependence on travel agents,” Shah explained.

Furthermore, Shah suggested operating special flights on the occasion of Muharram and Arbaeen. He also proposed establishing Iraqi immigration desks in Karachi during these periods. These measures would help visitors avoid the inconvenience of long hours at Najaf and Baghdad Airport.

Shah addressed the concerns of pilgrims traveling to Iraq on important religious days. He said, “Pilgrims worry about going to Iraq on important religious days. Various travel companies drop the visitors after taking them there, causing deep disturbance. If such travel companies are complained to us, we will cancel their license.”

In addition to these measures, Shah emphasized the need for special facilities for pilgrims traveling by road. He proposed programs at the settler level between the two countries to promote cultural activities.

Interestingly, Shah pointed out that Iraq is very important in date production while the Khairpur district of Sindh is also associated with a large date business. This opens up another avenue for collaboration between the two regions.

In response, the Iraqi ambassador acknowledged the long-standing and strong fraternal ties between Pakistan and Iraq. He agreed that religious tourism is very important in Pakistan-Iraq relations. This meeting marks a significant step towards strengthening the bond between Sindh and Iraq and enhancing the experience of religious tourists traveling between the two regions.

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