Pakistan launches Hajj mobile app to facilitate pilgrims

Pakistani IT ministry has launched an innovative Hajj mobile application to provide comprehensive guidance to pilgrims undertaking the sacred journey of Hajj.

The Pakistan Hajj Application employs advanced technology to continuously monitor the location of pilgrims and the time of day. It serves as a personalized guide, offering timely prompts and step-by-step instructions throughout the entire Hajj process.

“A mobile app has been developed in record time to facilitate Hajj pilgrims under the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications,” the IT ministry formally said in a statement announcing the launch of the app, developed jointly with the National Information Technology Board (NITB).

The primary objective is to ensure that pilgrims navigate the crowds seamlessly and receive guidance to return to their designated Maktab.

Federal Minister for Information Technology, Umar Saif, launched the app on December 20. “It will prompt the hajjis for feedback at different points to ensure smooth Hajj operations and enable a real-time connection with the Ministry of Religious Affairs for immediate assistance,” said Umar Saif at the launch of the event, while highlighting the app’s interactive features.

This approach enhances communication and support for pilgrims, contributing to a more streamlined Hajj experience.

“In this day and age, we have replaced this human interface with an application … designed to be a virtual mualim who is always with you,” the IT minister said.

“The app learns your behavior. It loads the schedule. It loads the events that take place. It loads the current location, the time and the day, and continuously advises you what to do next.”

Expressing his gratitude, Minister Saif commended the collaborative efforts of Minister for Religious Affairs Aneeq Ahmed and his team, as well as the contributions from the National Information Technology Board (NITB), Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), and the teams at the Ministry of Information Technology (MOITT).

Offline feature of the app

Baber Majid Bhatti, CEO of the National Information Technology Board, told Arab News the app also had an offline maps feature to facilitate pilgrims.

“The reason for putting things offline is there is a big risk of pilgrims not being connected with the telephone network and we have suffered this in the past,” Bhatti said. “So to solve this problem we decided to have the maps offline.”

Significance of the Hajj Application

  • The app will allow pilgrims to track Hajj application status in real-time and store submitted personal information conveniently.
  • Access information about Hajj group, including group members’ details and training schedules.
  • Display flight details for departure and return flights, including flight numbers, cities, dates, and times.
  • Provide information about Makkah and Madinah accommodations, specifying sector, building, and room details, as well as Maktab (camp) location.
  • Monitor Hajj dues and refund requests, and submit complaints, requests, and inquiries.
  • Multilingual app (English, Urdu initially) with the provision to add more languages.
  • The Pakistan Hajj Application aims to leverage technology for a safer and more guided Hajj experience.

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