CHITRAL: People intending to go to Saudi Arabia for performing Haj and Umra have demanded establishment of a biometric verification centre in Chitral to facilitate them in speedy issuance of visas.
They complained that for giving biometric thump impression they had to travel to Peshawar at great expense in order to be issued visa by the Saudi embassy.
The visa applicants said Chitral should not be taken at par with other districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which were well-connected with the provincial capital by roads.
They said for people of Chitral it took three days to reach Peshawar.
They said expenses incurred on their travel to Peshawar added to the overall expenditures on performance of Haj and Umra, which was not possible for the poor people.
They accused the federal ministry of religious affairs of ignoring the difficulties of the pilgrims from Chitral who travelled for 12 hours to reach Peshawar for fulfilling a requirement which could easily be arranged in the district.
They said the ministry was bound to carry out a proper survey for giving advice to the Saudi Embassy to open biometric verification centres on need basis as the Saudi authorities were unaware of the geography of Chitral.
They said the local Nadra office could also be entrusted to carry out the process of biometric verification.
Published in Dawn.