KOZHIKODE: Shihab Chottur (29) from Malappuram, who is on a journey by foot to Mecca for Haj pilgrimage, has said that he has finally received official papers from Pakistan permitting him to travel through the country. On Monday, he will resume his journey from Punjab, where he has been staying for the past four months and nine days waiting for the transit visa.
Shihab – who was staying at the Aafiyah Kids School at Khasa, Amritsar – made the announcement on a Facebook video on Sunday. “I had commenced my journey on June 2 and till February 2, I had been waiting for one paper and now I have received it. It’s now just hours remaining for me to set foot on Pakistani soil. I will resume my journey on Monday,” he said in the video.
Mushtaq Haji of Karnataka, who is present along with Shihab at Khasa, told TOI over phone that Shihab would cover the 12 km from Khasa to Wagah on Monday morning.
Shihab would reach the Wagah border check post at 10am to enter Pakistan, Haji said. Shihab thanked the Aafiyah school authorities in the video for facilitating his stay, saying that he had come to the school maintaining that he would stay there for just three days but his wait for the transit visa got delayed.
He has covered 3,300km on foot so far, covering seven states from Kerala to Punjab. Shihab, who started off on his 8,640-km journey from Malappuram on June 2, reached near Wagah border in September but could not cross the border as he did not have a transit visa. He plans to reach Mecca in Saudi Arabia and perform the Haj in 2023, after covering Pakistan and crossing over to Iran and a small stretch in Iraq to enter Kuwait and later Saudi Arabia.
In a tacit reference to criticisms levelled against him from certain quarters, Shibab said no one needed to view his journey as one which should be replicated. “It is a dream which I am walking towards,” he said, adding that he does not harbour hatred against anyone.