ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – After being stranded in Baghdad International Airport for four days, dozens of Pakistani pilgrims returned home on Saturday following the intervention of the Pakistani Embassy in Iraq.
Last month, tens of thousands of foreign Muslim pilgrims visited Iraq to observe an annual Shia religious ceremony in the holy city of Karbala.
The pilgrimage marks the martyrdom in the year 680 of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammad, who refused to accept the leadership of the “usurper,” Caliph Yazid, and was massacred along with his followers in Karbala.
After performing the religious ceremony, more than 100 Pakistani pilgrims were stuck at the Iraqi capital city’s airport after the tour guide apparently vanished along with their plane tickets, causing them to miss their flight.
“We are facing difficulties as Shah Khurasan travel agent did not give us our tickets or passports on time,” the pilgrims recently told local Pakistani media.
Their return on Saturday came after the Pakistani Embassy in Baghdad intervened and arranged replacement tickets for them.
On his Twitter account, Spokesperson of Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry Mohammed Faisal stated that the embassy has successfully managed to send all the stranded Pakistanis home.
“[An] Inquiry [is] being initiated against the tour operator whose inefficiency led to the problem for Pakistanis,” Faisal stated.
Iraqi officials have not yet made any statements about the issue.
Kurdistan 24 tried contacted authorities in Baghdad International Airport for comment but received no response.
Editing by John J. Catherine