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.

(JPN/Agencies)