Islamabad - The Ministry of Religious Affairs on Friday clarified that Saudi Arabia's response is still awaited to exempt those Pakistani pilgrims from additional taxes, who have performed Umrah during last two years. The ministry's spokesperson said that the Saudi government had imposed a tax of 2,000 riyals on any individual, from any country, who visited the kingdom more than once in two years to perform Umrah.

He said the move was aimed to rationalise ever-increasing rush and to improve the facilities provided to the pilgrims during their stay in the Kingdom. He said on request of Turkish and Egyptian governments, an exemption was granted to their citizens from paying the added tax.

He said Pakistan has also raised the matter with the Saudi government to grant similar exemptions to Pakistan as provided to others.

He said it was a matter of time and the Saudi government would notify the waiver soon. He said that the prime minister took up the matter with the Saudi crown prince during his last visit and he was assured by hosts that the matter would be taken into consideration.