Photo has been used for illustrative purpose.
Jamil Khan, Senior Reporter
Hundreds of desperate community members have reached Pakistan Consulate in Dubai on Monday to get first-hand information on getting tickets to reach home.
Some community members have informed media persons that they are yet to get exact information about the procedures of getting tickets for special flights for Pakistan.
Beside this, around 1000 stranded community members have finally boarded four special flights on Monday and joined their loved ones after the arrangements by the government of Pakistan through its national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
Those who flew on Monday were relieved as the authorities intervened to fix the prices of one-way tickets at Dhs1550 for Karachi-bound passengers and Dhs1650 for Lahore. Earlier many had to pay from Dhs1850 to Dhs2200 for one-way ticket for Islamabad flight on Saturday which took 227 passengers from Dubai.
Officials in the local PIA office have confirmed that four special flights from Dubai to Karachi and Lahore took off on Monday with 1000 passengers.
Earlier the Consulate in Dubai has devised an online system to get the exact number of community members who want to go back home. Thousands of community members from elders, job-seekers on visit visas, unemployed and sick as well as those who planned to avail annual leaves had filled out the forms and had been asked to wait for further instructions.
Shahid Mughal, Regional Manager PIA in Dubai earlier told Gulf Today that they were issuing tickets only to those referred by the Consulate as they were maintaining the data base on priority.
When this scribe tried to reach Ahmed Amjad Ali, Consul General in Dubai for his comments, he was not available on phone as well as Gayan Chand, Head of Chancellory in Dubai and Ashique Sheikh, press counselor. However, community members through the official social media platforms are expressing their concern on the arrangements of less number of flights and trying to express their reservations to get attention.
The true meaning of the Holy Month of Ramadan to share among the less fortunate members of the Pakistani diaspora in the UAE has not been forgotten by the social arm of the community. The Pakistan Association Dubai is distributing food packages among the underprivileged members of the community who have been affected by the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. So far 1,500 food packages, enough for a 4-5-member family for one month, have been distributed across all nationalities and emirates as part of the food drive.
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