Pakistan's Consul General Ahmed Amjad Ali addresses community members in Dubai. File
Jamil Khan, Senior Reporter
The special repatriation operations for 60,000 Pakistanis stranded in the UAE were over and normal flight operations, both inbound and outbound, would start within days.
This was announced by Ahmed Amjad Ali, Pakistani Consul General in Dubai and Northern Emirates, at a press conference in the consulate on Saturday evening. The press event was attended by a number of consulate officials and volunteers who helped the consulate in repatriation operations.
"The special repatriation operations for stranded community members started on April 18 with the help of Pakistan International Airlines to operate 140 flights from Dubai to repatriate around 30,000. Over 20,000 were repatriated from Abu Dhabi. Around 10,000 were facilitated by the local airlines in the operations.
"It was one of the biggest repatriation operations in the world for Pakistanis and we are thankful to Almighty Allah who helped us. We are also thankful to the ministries of Pakistan and local authorities in the UAE who assisted us in this 3-month operation as many tasks were new for us but as far as teamwork was concerned we did fine,” he said.
He also felicitated his staff who worked round-the-clock to facilitate the community members – from guiding to booking their seats on special flights.
"This week we operated around 38 flights for various cities of Pakistan, facilitating more than 90 per cent stranded Pakistanis who registered with the consulate since March,” he said.
Ali also pointed that the normal operations of PIA and the country’s budget airline, AirBlue, would start within days. A new airline, Serene Air, would also start its international operation from the UAE this week,” he added.
He clarified that from now on the community members who wished to go back to Pakistan should visit travel agents or offices of these airlines for booking their flights. "The consulate will assist community members in other services including food packages or welfare tasks but not in repatriation through special flights which ceased today,” he added.
Responded to a question, he pointed that there were many stranded Pakistanis who were unable to get onboard as they had fines pending for years and first they had to be cleared with concerned authorities.
"The consulate staff worked round the clock to facilitate the stranded community members as our 7 staff members contracted the coronavirus. Now they have recovered and resumed their official duties. Likewise the team of PIA involved in the repatriation operations had also contracted the virus. They were isolated and worked from their homes to assist the consulate officials in overall operations,” he mentioned.
Till to-date, around 4,900 stranded people were repatriated from Dubai, 1,200 from Abu Dhabi and around 2,000 Pakistanis repatriated through FlyDubai and Emirates special flights.
Those were among who earlier registered on the website provided by the two embassies to return their homeland out of a total of 450,000 Indians and 80,000 Pakistanis.
“So far, 113,154 Pakistani nationals have been repatriated from different parts of the world. We thank all the governments of these countries for their cooperation in facilitating the repatriation of our nationals,” Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said.
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