Ahmed Amjad Ali interacts with a Pakistani passenger at Dubai International Airport.
The repatriation process of stranded Pakistanis in Dubai and Northern Emirates is smoothly going on through the country’s national carrier as to-date approximately 7,100 passengers flew through 34 special flights from Dubai International Airport. There are 10 more special flights scheduled between May 26 to 31 for different cities of Pakistan.
This was stated by Ahmed Amjad Ali, Consul General of Pakistan in Dubai and Northern Emirates, while talking to the Gulf Today on Saturday.
Ahmed Amjad Ali interacts with Pakistani passengers at Dubai Airport.
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.
"The special flights operations have started since April 18 on the directive of the Government of Pakistan to repatriate desperate community members from the UAE including thousands stranded after lost jobs and others stuck after their visa expired. So far we have departed 34 special flights of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) from Dubai to various stations in Pakistan,” he said.
He further said that they have received schedule of 10 more special flights for repatriation of stranded community members from Dubai. "These 10 flights will be operated from May 26-31 for different cities of Pakistan from Dubai International Airport as the arrangements are being underway to inform concerned community members categorized on priority basis. We are hoping that around 2,500-3,000 more passengers will be accommodated on these 10 special flights,” he added.
Ahmed Amjad Ali with Pakistani passengers at Dubai Airport.
Amjad Ali refuted the media reports of local government’s offer to repatriate stranded Pakistanis by their “own carrier” and said that "these have been in the media for a long time as if government of Pakistan allowed them they will operate but everyone knows that our government is considering the facts especially the limited quarantine facilities on ground to allow more or extra flights. Government allows only special flights because of controlled quarantine facilities established on airports for passengers and control the spread of coronavirus COVID-19,” he said.
He further said that the special flights will be continue till the regular flight operation resumed which is yet to confirm.
The first Pakistan International Airline (PIA) flight carrying 84 passengers departed from Karachi for Lahore at 1300 local time (0800 GMT), along with flights for Lahore and Islamabad operated by a private airline, local media reported.
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.
"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.
Ahead of the talks, here are the key points that have led to the dispute and the pitfalls as the two nations, who fought a 1962 border war and have clashed many times since, over the solution:
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