Shihab Chottur, a 29-year-old Indian man walking to Makkah in the hopes of doing Hajj, entered Pakistan on Tuesday over the Wagah border.
The Keralite has been waiting for his visa in Amritsar for the past four months in order to complete his 8,640km trek that began on June 2, 2022, in Malappuram. Chottur has walked 3,300 kilometers in seven states, from Kerala to Punjab.
He was denied entry into Pakistan in September of last year since there is no agreement in existence between New Delhi and Islamabad on transit visas for people traveling by foot. Chottur had chosen to stay at a school in Amritsar while awaiting his visa.
He has now arrived in Pakistan after being granted a two-day transit visa to Lahore. The 29-year-old took to his Instagram account to broadcast a video of himself crossing the Wagah-Attari border saying “Alhamdullilah arrived Pakistan”.
The Hajj aspirant claims that the voyage is tough for him not because of the distance he must cover on foot, but rather because of the preparation and approvals required for his travel. “It took roughly six months to get permission to walk the journey,” he stated.
He claimed, however, that he never gave up hope and proceeded to visit embassies in Delhi before ultimately receiving clearance to continue his voyage.
According to sources, Chottur was not allowed to fly from Lahore to Taftan due to security concerns, but the authorities did issue him a two-day transit visa that allowed him to fly from Lahore Airport to his next destination.
It should be noted that a Pakistani student from Okara, Usman Arshad, is also walking to Makkah in the hopes of doing Hajj there this year.
He is now in Iran and will pass via Iraq and Kuwait before arriving in Makkah.