A 29-year-old man from Kerala, who has set out on an 8,640 km journey on foot to Makkah to perform Haj 2023, has revealed that the news that Pakistan has denied him a visa is false.
On Wednesday, October 5, Shihab Chottur, clarified this news through his Facebook account, that there are no obstacles to his journey at present and that the propaganda that Pakistan has denied him a visa is a hoax.
A video statement of Shahi Imam of Punjab has been circulating on social media for a few days that Shihab, was denied a visa by Pakistan to travel to Makkah.
On Sunday, the Shahi Imam of Punjab, Maulana Mohammad Usman Ludhianvi, issued a statement in a press conference and said that Shihab Chottur is being denied a visa by the Pakistan government.
Speaking to the media, Shahi Imam said, “The Embassy of Pakistan in Delhi first assured Shihab Chottur to start the Haj pilgrimage on foot, when he reaches close to the Indo-Pakistan border, he will be given a visa to Pakistan.”
Shahi Imam further adds, “The Embassy gave the logic that the visa would expire if given in advance. So the visa would be issued as soon as Shihab would arrive at the border.”
In this situation, Shihab himself came forward with an explanation. It has been 126 days since Shihab’s journey started. Shihab has already covered a distance of 3,200 km. Shihab added that 35 to 40 percent of the journey has been completed.
Currently, Shihab is staying at Aafiyah Kids School, Khasa, Punjab, and waiting to cross the border to get a transit visa to Pakistan.
Shihab said that Pakistan is ready to grant tourist visas. It has a duration of 90 days. Within it, it is not possible to reach Taftan, the border between Pakistan and Iran. Moreover, it is not possible to enter another country with a tourist visa.
One can enter Pakistan through the Wagah border from India and go to the Iran border and come back to India. But to enter another country from there you have to get a transit visa. A document from the Department of External Affairs of India is also required to obtain a transit visa.
Shihab’s Kerala-Makkah journey
Shihab Chottur, who runs a supermarket, set off on his incredible journey from Athavanad, near Kottakkal, in Malappuram district, Kerala, on June 2. Every day, he walks at least 25 kms.
He will reach Makkah for Haj in 2023 after traversing India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait, and will finally reach Saudi Arabia sometime in early February 2023.
He will apply for the Haj pilgrimage after his arrival in Saudi Arabia and plans to cover the entire distance in 280 days.
Shihab is currently accompanied by three of his friends on this journey from Kerala to Makkah. A six-member team from Karnataka is following him in the current extension to facilitate their journey.
Shihab has been getting a rousing welcome as he passes through states with a large number of people thronging roads to greet him and catch a glimpse of him.