Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Haj Minister Mohd Azam Khan in a letter to External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has asked to ensure that Haj pilgrims are issued passports on a priority basis. He has also urged him to direct the regional passport office at Lucknow, Ghaziabad and Bareilly to issue passports to willing Haj pilgrims within a week's time.

The letter further stated that a large number of Muslims from rural areas go for Haj, but being semi-iterate they are unable to understand technicalities involved in getting a passport.

He said that a large number of applications were pending with the passport offices. Khan said that there were cases in which passports were not issued even though the police inquiry has been completed.