Ahmed Amjad Ali with Pakistani passengers at Dubai International Airport. Supplied photo
Jamil Khan, Senior ReporterAs many as 1,600 Pakistanis have been repatriated through seven special flights by the national carrier Pakistan International Airline (PIA), while two more flights are ready to take approximately 400 community members on April 28 to Karachi and Multan.
Talking to Gulf Today, Ahmad Amjad Ali, Consul General of Pakistan, said that the government of Pakistan through national carrier has planning to repatriate more desperate community members through two special PIA flights on April 28 from Dubai.
"We have been informed deserving community members through phone to book their tickets for upcoming special flights of PIA and the tickets have been issuing through special counters set up at the Terminal 2, Dubai International Airport,” he said.
In a separate development, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says Pakistan has enhanced the capacity to bring back seven thousand stranded Pakistani from abroad every week.
Addressing the US based Pakistanis via video link on Saturday, he expressed the confidence that this figure will go up in the coming weeks.
The foreign minister said that it is our utmost endeavour to bring back all the registered sixty thousand stranded Pakistani before Eid Al Fitr. He said ten thousand Pakistani have already been brought back.
Ahmad Amjad Ali thanked the UAE government and Dubai authorities for their continued support and cooperation in carrying out smooth repatriation operation 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 a large number and hoped to continue the bilateral cooperation in this regard.
The consulate has around 40,000 Pakistanis registered to go back home through special flights as the regular operation of all flights have been suspended in the wake of COVID-19.
It is also mentioned that Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Pakistan through a live chat on social media with prominent community members and officials from Pakistan missions in the UAE have 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 on the higher tickets have also been taken care,” said Bukhari.
The ministry of overseas Pakistanis has also issued new prices of flight fare for Pakistanis which according to them will be Dhs810 for Dubai-Karachi, Dhs957 for Dubai-Multan, Dhs1,110 for Dubai-Islamabad/Lahore/Peshawar excluding taxes while the airport taxes vary between Dhs200 to 250 depend on the area and will add once the traveller booked the ticket.
The Pakistan International Airline (PIA) flight with 227 passengers, mostly from Dubai and Northern Emirates, were lucky to get seat confirmation earlier and boarded the flight which left Dubai around 7pm local time.
Thirteen more repatriation flights will depart the UAE between April 20 and April 28, the source said, adding that they will be operated by Emirates, Air Arabia and PIA.
Over 62,000 community members have been registered to seek repatriation as the regular flight operations have suspended since the COVID-19 pandemic declared in March earlier this year.
"Tomorrow we will partially open airspace for international flights. This is being done specially to help our overseas workers who have suffered most in this pandemic but have shown great courage and made us proud," the prime minister said on Twitter.
The video showed and travellers were adhering the mandatory preventive measure put in place by UAE for international travel.
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