By John Lee.
Azzaman reports that the Iraqi government has removed visa restrictions on pilgrims visiting Muslim shrines during ‘holy’ occasions.
The move will make it possible for pilgrims to fly to the country and obtain their visas at the Iraqi airports instead of applying for it at the Iraqi embassies in their countries.
Muslim Shiites from across the world head for Iraq during Shiite holy days, especially to Karbala and Najaf (pictured), their most revered sites after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Iraqi authorities hope the removal of visa restrictions will increase the number of pilgrims substantially.
The measure only applies during holy occasions and days and not throughout the year.
Iraq is keen to develop a tourist industry based on its religious sites and richness in antiquities and Mesopotamian heritage.