Photo has been used for illustrative purpose.
Jamil Khan, Senior Reporter
As many as 1,600 community members have been repatriated through seven special flights by the national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) while two more flights are ready to take approximately 400-plus expatriates on Apr.28 to Karachi and Multan.
Talking to Gulf Today, Ahmad Amjad Ali, Consul General of Pakistan, said that the government of Pakistan through the national carrier has been planning to repatriate more desperate community members through two special PIA flights on Apr.28 from Dubai.
“We have been informing deserving community members through phone to book their tickets for upcoming special flights of PIA and the tickets are being issued through special counters set up at the Terminal 2, Dubai Airport,” he said.
The consulate has around 40,000 people registered to go back to Pakistan through special flights as the regular operations of all flights have been suspended in the wake of COVID-19.
It is also mentioned that Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, through a live chat on social media with prominent community members and officials from Pakistan missions in the UAE, assured that more special flights in cooperation with Emirates are being planned and soon the schedule will be announced.
“We have given permission to Emirates to operate special flights for Pakistan to repatriate more Pakistanis from Dubai in the coming days while the concern of many Pakistanis over higher priced tickets have also been taken care of,” said Bukhari.
The Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis has also issued new flight fares for Pakistanis which according to them will be Dhs810 for UAE-Karachi, Dhs957 for UAE-Multan, Dhs1,110 for UAE-Islamabad/Lahore/Peshawar excluding taxes. The airport taxes vary between Dhs200 to Dhs250 depending on the area and will be added once the traveller books the ticket.
Bukhari and other officials through a live chat session assured the community members that the airline was ready to start its operation from Dubai and once the arrangements were finalised they would be informed through social media platforms to proceed and book their seats.
However, Ahmad Amjad Ali said that the Consulate repatriated over 1,600 Pakistani nationals from Dubai and Northern Emirates through 7 PIA special flights so far. The frequency of special flights will increase in the coming days to repatriate Pakistani nationals.
He also said that the Consulate General has also distributed rations among 11,500 Pakistani needy families and individuals during last four weeks in Dubai and Northern Emirates, with the help of Pakistani philanthropists in Dubai. The ration distribution by the Consulate will continue. The Consulate conveys its gratitude to Pakistani community members for their valuable support in this regard.
“We have been receiving a number of requests from the needy community members through social media platforms and to cater for these we devised a number of ways to send them food packages. At some Dubai locations, we hired Uber bikes to deliver the food to needy people while for those who were in Northern Emirates, we delivered them through our designated platforms like Pakistan Social Centre Ras Al Khaimah and others,” he said.
Ahmad Amjad Ali thanked the UAE government and Dubai authorities for their continued support and cooperation in carrying out smooth repatriation operations and appreciated the role of Dubai Police in assisting the Consulate. He underscored the UAE government’s generosity towards hosting of Pakistani workers in such large numbers and hoped to continue the bilateral cooperation in this regard.
Earlier, around 1,000 stranded community members boarded four special flights on Monday and joined their loved ones after the arrangements by the government of Pakistan through Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
Those who flew on Monday were relieved as the authorities intervened to fix the prices of one-way tickets at Dhs1,550 for Karachi-bound passengers and Dhs1,650 for Lahore. Earlier many had to pay fares ranging from Dhs1,850 to Dhs2,200 for a one-way ticket to Islamabad on Saturday which took 227 passengers from Dubai.
Officials in the local PIA office confirmed that four special flights from Dubai to Karachi and Lahore took off on Monday with 1,000 passengers.
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