For centuries there was no visa or permission to perform Hajj. The holy sites were always open to all Muslims, and any one from any part of the world could visit them to perform Hajj or Umrah.

It may be best that the responsibility, care, maintenance and management of the two holy sites, Mecca and Medina, be declared a common responsibility of all Muslim states. Areas within 20 miles radius of each city should be declared as regions of peace and compassion for all human beings. Contingents from every Muslim country should be represented, on the pattern of UN peace-keeping force, to assume complete responsibility for safety, security, development, upkeep, preservation of the two cities and the affairs relating to Hajj and Umrah. Let every Muslim country, regardless of its politics or ideology, share what is both an honour and an obligation.

NAEEM SADIQ,

Lahore, October 9.