Picture used for illustrative purpose only.
Tanvir Usman, Staff Reporter
Many Pakistani expats are shelving their travel plans as uncertainty prevails over suspension of Pak-UAE flights due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Similarly, Pakistanis stuck back home are worried about their jobs and have requested the authorities concerned to lift the travel ban as soon as possible.
The outbound flights from Pakistan to the UAE have been suspended since May 12 after the UAE announced suspension of entry for travellers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka as part of the COVID-19 precautionary measures.
Pakistan had announced 80 per cent reduction in inbound flights on May 5 amid the worsening coronavirus situation.
In view of the current situation, many Pakistanis wishing to travel to their native country have postponed their vacation plans and those stuck in Pakistan have pleaded for lifting of the travel ban.
Saqib, a Pakistani resident in Dubai, said he is reluctant to travel to Pakistan owing to the restrictions on Pak-UAE flights.
“I planned a short trip to my home country last month but could not go due to the ban on flights. Pakistan has reduced the number of flights from the UAE and the UAE has completely banned Pakistan flights. Though I want to spend the Eid Al Adha with my family, but still not sure I will make it or not.
“I request authorities to find a way out for smooth travel between the UAE and Pakistan.”
Akhtar, who resides in Sharjah, postponed his vacations twice in last 12 months because of travel restrictions due to coronavirus pandemic.
A Pakistani passenger waits at Dubai Airport.
“First, I planned to go in March but postponed on advice of my friends. Again, I wanted to spend Eid Al Fitr with my family, but cancelled the plan at the last moment due to the flight ban. I don’t know whether I will be able to travel for Eid Al Adha next month. The UAE government deserves accolades for handling the pandemic well and I hope it will take step to ease travel for the residency visa holders who have got vaccine doses as well.”
Another resident Zainab said that her husband is stuck in Pakistan due to flight suspension and requested the authorities to lift the ban so he could join his job here in the UAE.
Abbas said, “My mother is sick for the last two weeks but I am not able to travel to the UAE. The COVID-19 situation is far better in Pakistan than its neighbouring country. I request authorities to exempt those facing emergency situations.”
Another resident said: "My husband came to meet his paralysed father during Eid holidays but now stuck in Pakistan and desperately waiting to resume office back in the UAE."
Hira Nauman, while requesting the authorities said: "My treatment is going on since last four months in Dubai. I came to Pakistan for a family issue but now everything is resolved. I need to go back so that I can continue my treatment. Please open the flights.”
Afshan Khan called for lifting of ban on residents who have been vaccinated.
Passengers walk at Dubai Airport's Duty Free area.
Zainab Arshad said: "I work in Dubai and have been on vacation since March in Pakistan. I was expecting to come back on May 17 but due to suspension of flights I am stuck. Now it's very difficult to survive without work. I am the only bread winner in the family. I request UAE government to resume the flights for Pakistan as soon as possible."
Kalim Malik said that he took first dose of Pfizer vaccine on May 5 and travelled to Pakistan but got stuck due to flight suspension.
“I got first dose of Pfizer vaccine on 5th of May, I came to Pakistan and flights closed, I want to return to complete my second dose.”
Syed Sajid Ali, a resident of Dubai said: “I am working for a European Airline. I came to Karachi on April 29 to celebrate Eid with my family but stranded till now. My suggestion is that UAE government should set a policy of quarantine for certain period, followed by multiple PCR tests for the returning residents from Pakistan and other barred countries and allow the residents to enter the UAE.”
Pakistan Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi has categorically denied any ‘backdoor diplomacy’ between Pakistan and India while lauding the role of the UAE leadership for 50 years of brotherly relationship with Pakistan.
Imran has also appealed to the leaders of rich countries, the UN secretary general and heads of financial institutions to give debt relief to developing countries like Pakistan so that they could combat the deadly COVID-19 in a better way.
Chairing a meeting on the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the prime minister said overseas Pakistanis were an asset of the country and must be involved in the election process.
The newly appointed Pakistan Ambassador to the UAE, Afzaal Mahmood, recently visited the Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD), a community centre with multiple facilities, and appreciated the community for their support in the construction and running of modern facilities in Dubai.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai on Saturday approved Hatta Master Development Plan, which forms an integral part of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan.
Since the beginning of 2021, the campaign in Pakistan has succeeded in providing 75,148,404 doses of vaccination against polio, bringing the total number, provided by the campaign since 2014 and until 2021, to 583, 240,876 vaccination doses.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) announced 84 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the UAE to 739,190.