Next year’s Hajj operations to be ‘fully digitised’: IT minister

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Caretaker Minister for IT & Telecom Dr Umar Saif chairing a meeting of special committee on Hajj. — IT Ministry
Caretaker Minister for IT & Telecom Dr Umar Saif chairing a meeting of special committee on Hajj. — IT Ministry

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications assured the Religious Affairs Ministry on Wednesday that next year’s Hajj operations would be “fully digitised”.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the special committee constituted by Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar’s directive earlier this month.

The meeting was chaired by Caretaker Minister for IT & Telecom Dr Umar Saif, while Co-chairman Caretaker Religious Affairs Minister Aneeq Ahmed also attended the session. The huddle was briefed by officials about the system used in the Hajj operations.

“As per the directives of the prime minister, a smartphone application and web portal would be developed while the whole Hajj Operation would be digitised to have independent reviews from the Hujjaj, on the analogy of leading platforms dealing with housing and hospitality,” Dr Umar Saif was quoted in a press release. 

He added that with this system the pilgrims will be able to give their feedback digitally regarding Hajj operations and facilities.

The IT minister also directed the National Information Technology Board (NITB) to immediately upgrade the existing Hajj operation system till the completion of the digitisation process and remove shortcomings. He also directed the NITB’s chief executive officer to deploy an “expert team” in the Ministry of Religious Affairs to monitor the system.

Chinese envoy meets minister

Separately, Chinese Ambassador Jiang Zaidong also called on Dr Saif at his office where the two discussed ways in which the Pakistani IT companies and startups can tap into the Chinese market.

Both the leaders discussed how Pakistan can benefit from Chinese technology and help Pakistan move forward in emerging domains of electric vehicles and batteries, chip manufacturing and telecom infrastructure.

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