Covid-19 in UAE: Over 5,000 Pakistanis register for special flights back home
Dubai - Stranded Pakistanis include those who have lost their jobs or visas have expired.
More than 5,000 Pakistanis in the UAE have registered on the online platform announced by the Consulate General of Pakistan, Dubai, to fly back to home country, a senior official said on Saturday.
"We're collecting data of Pakistanis stranded here so that we know who the deserving people are who have lost jobs of their visas have expired when the special flights resume between two countries. Over 5,000 people have registered and the numbers are growing every hour," said Ahmed Amjad Ali, consul-general of Pakistan in Dubai.
Also read: Pakistanis in UAE told to register for special flights
"But there are people who took annual leave and want to go home. But the priority will be given to those who are stranded here due to visa expiry and job losses. It also include people flying with dead bodies and other emergency cases. These people will be accommodated on priority basis," Ali told Khaleej Times in an interview.
Consulate General of Pakistan, Dubai, on Friday asked its nationals in UAE to register if they want to travel to Pakistan when special flights will resume between the two countries. All concerned people were requested to fill the form and send their details on WhatsApp number 0097156-3962911 or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Currently, around 1.6 million Pakistanis are residing and working in the UAE in different walks of life. Like many nationals from other countries, thousands of Pakistanis are stuck in the UAE after flights were suspended to contain spread of coronavirus.
He added embassy and consulates will also be involved in the repatriation process and the collection of this data will come handy at that time to ensure that people with urgent needs fly back first.
Replying to a query about the number of people expected to register for special flights in the coming days, the consul-general noted that it is difficult to predict because some people want to go to Pakistan for their annual leave. Hence, it was difficult to give an accurate numbers at this point of time.
With regard to resumption of special flights, the Ahmed Ali said it is difficult to reveal the date due to the volatile situation surrounding coronavirus around the world.
On Thursday, the UAE government extended the suspension of entry of all valid visa holders in the country for two more weeks. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has asked people who are outside the country with valid UAE residence visa to register on Twajudi in order to facilitate their safe return to the UAE in emergency cases.
Over 2,600 expats benefit from charity drive
Pakistan consulate also launched food distribution charity drive on March 26 with the help of community members to assist those who have been made redundant by companies.
"Over 2,600 benefitted from the charity drive last week. The drive has been launched using consulate's own resources and with the help of Pakistani philanthropists. We are trying to extend this but difficult to say how long it can go on, depending on multiple factors including help of philanthropists, resumption of special flights etc.," Ali said.
He urged the Pakistani community to follow the UAE authorities' instructions to contain Covid-19 and source news from official and reliable source only.