The first large group of Pakistani Moslems to leave on this year's pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca boarded a pilgrim ship in Karachi last week.
SV & CU INT. Pilgrims receiving passports (4 shots)
SV & CU Ditto inoculated (4 shots)
CU name of ship 'Safina OE-Arab'
SV & CUs Pilgrims farewelled by relatives (9 shots)
SV & CU Kausar Niazi address pilgrims from bridge of ship (8 shots)
SV Niazi leaves ship (4 shots)
SV Crowds wave as ship leaves (5 shots)
Initials BB/1853 SGM/2015
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Background: The first large group of Pakistani Moslems to leave on this year's pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca boarded a pilgrim ship in Karachi last week.
They'll travel to the Red Sea port of Jeddah and then to Mecca to take part in the Hajj--the celebration attended annually by one million pilgrims from throughout the Moslem world.
Each devout Moslem is required to make the journey to Mecca at least once in his life.
The group of Pakistanis who left last week were mostly from the Rawalpindi region and they were farewelled by the Central Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Melaena Kausar Niazi. He is also the minister responsible for the Hajj and Auquf (religious affairs).
Mr. Niazi appealed to the departing Moslems to pray at Mecca for the return of Pakistani prisoners of war from India and for the solidarity and integrity of Pakistan.
Mr. Niazi said the Government had fulfilled its promise to allow all those who had applied to take part in the Hajj to leave for Mecca in spite of Pakistan's foreign exchange difficulties. He said the Government was spending 20.8 million rupees (about GBP785,000 sterling) to support the pilgrimage.
SYNOPSIS: Pakistan's Central Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Melaena Kausar Niazi, visited the ship to farewell the Pilgrims. He's the Minister responsible for giving Government support to the Haj and religious affairs generally. He appealed to the pilgrims to pray at Mecca for the return of Pakistani prisoners of war from India and for the solidarity and integrity of Pakistan.
Mr Niazi said that although Pakistan had foreign exchange problems the Government was providing more than three-quarters of a million pounds to help pilgrims get to Mecca.
There are nearly forty-two million Moslems in Pakistan and for the devout, the journey to Mecca is the spiritual climax of their lives.