06/20/2007, 00.00
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Islamabad to impose burqa on women going on Hajj

Pakistani Religious Affairs Secretary says decision follows Saudi objections about the way Pakistani women dress during Hajj.

Karachi (AsiaNews) – The Pakistani government has made abayas or burqas mandatory for women who wish to perform Hajj, Religious Affairs Secretary Wakeel Ahmed Khan said. The obligation will apply to private Hajj operators, he added

Khan made the announcement at a seminar last Sunday. He explained that for the last three years, the Saudi government has objected about the way Pakistani women dress during Hajj.

“Moreover, people designated to take care of the Hujjaj there (Khuddam) will be asked to ensure that Pakistani women there do not get out of their houses and hotels sans abayas.” he said.

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. Every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so is required to make the pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in his or her lifetime. Many who undertake the journey are elderly people who have saved money over a lifetime to visit Makkah.

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