Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Chief Executive Officer Arshad Malik held a meeting with Iraq Tourism Board Chairman Thafer Mehdi in Baghdad and discussed matters pertaining to visas on arrival for pilgrims from Pakistan, Pakistantoday.com.pk reported.
Iraq is home to a number of sites considered holy by the Shi’ite Muslims: Imam Hussain ibn Ali is buried at Karbala, and the tomb of his father, Ali ibn Abi Talib, is in the nearby city of Najaf.
Both of these cities have become pilgrimage sites for the Shi’ite faithful, secondary for them in importance only to Mecca.
During the meeting, the two also deliberated on exploring the possibility of a visa on arrival initiative. Malik said the “consent is there to sign” a memorandum of understanding between the two nations.
Recently, the airline has launched its flight operations to and from Najaf to transport pilgrims visiting the holy sites in Iraq.