The prime minister’s aide on overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari on Sunday announced additional flights to bring back Pakistanis stranded in various countries due to flight restrictions imposed in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Among the countries from which flights will operate are Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, UK, Qatar, Turkey, Kenya, Bahrain and Sudan.
Bukhari, in a tweet, shared that international flights to bring back the Pakistanis have been increased on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan and to facilitate the maximum number of people.
“Even with increased capacity, I request overseas Pakistanis to avoid unnecessary travel and let more deserving people get a chance to travel at priority,” said Bukhari.
According to the schedule, the flights will operate from May 1 till May 10 and will bring back more than 7,000 Pakistanis from nine countries mainly from the Gulf region.
According to the new schedule, 17 flights will land at different airports across the country and bring back more than 4,000 Pakistanis from the UAE. The flights will be operated by PIA and UAE-based airlines.
On the other hand, five flights will bring back more than 1,200 Pakistanis from Qatar via a Doha-based airline to different airports across the country.
Meanwhile, two PIA flights will bring back 500 Pakistanis from Saudi Arabia to Lahore and Islamabad on May 1.
Bukhari also shared that one PIA flight each will be sent to Oman, Sudan, UK, Kenya, Turkey and Bahrain. The flights will bring back more than 1,500 Pakistanis.
Commercial flights have been badly affected by the coronavirus and with the suspension of international flight operations, many Pakistanis were left stranded in various countries across the globe.
Thousands of Gulf-based Pakistani’s have sought the government’s help for repatriation after they were rendered jobless due to the economic crisis in the region.
The government, after deciding to bring back the citizens on special flights, had announced that that they will be tested for COVID-19 and would be kept in isolation till their results come. Those who test positive for the virus would be taken to a quarantine facility set up for the coronavirus patients.