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Pakistan completes 'largest ever' repatriation from UAE

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on June 27, 2020
coronavirus, Covid-19, Pakistan, UAE, Dubai, consulate, repatriation, Ahmed Amjad Ali, flights
Ahmed Amjad Ali, consul-general of the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai, briefs the media on the latest development on Saturday.

(Photo by Mohammed Mustafa Khan/ Khaleej Times)

Around 55,000 to 60,000 people from Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been sent back on PIA flights and those operated by UAE carriers.

Pakistan has completed its repatriation of stranded citizens in the UAE and, now, people can fly back to the country on regular flights, an envoy said on Saturday.

Ahmed Amjad Ali, consul-general of the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai, said it was the largest repatriation programme carried out in the country's history, with up to 90 per cent of stranded Pakistanis flown home from the UAE since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak.  

More than 60,000 Pakistanis were stranded in the UAE. Some lost their jobs while others were on visit visas and couldn't fly back when international flights were suspended. 

Out of this total, 55,000 to 60,000 people from Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been sent back on PIA flights and those operated by UAE carriers, Ali said. 

The consul-general also pointed out that the consulate is set to resume services, such as passport and ID renewal and visa issuance, from July 1. Intensive sterilisation will be carried out in the facility over the next few days. 

"The Consulate-General of Pakistan Dubai has completed its repatriation operation of stranded Pakistanis in Dubai and Northern Emirates, as Pakistan has opened its airspace for normal flights. The consulate has repatriated 30,229 Pakistanis through 138 PIA and 3 flydubai special flights," he said.

"Around 99 per cent of those who were keen to go back to Pakistan have been cleared. Only those people who have to settle fines are currently stranded in the UAE, which are very few."

Many people who registered for repatriation were determined to go home even after the UAE eased restrictions and announced that its economy is opening up, the envoy said. 

Airblue and Serene Air

Pakistan's private carrier Airblue is also expected to resume operation in a few days while Serene Air has also been given permission to start Dubai operations, Ali said. 

Those flying from the UAE wouldn't need to present any negative Covid-19 test, he added. 

Besides repatriating stranded nationals, the consulate transported 208 bodies of Pakistanis whose deaths were not related to Covid-19. Fifty-two people who died of the virus were buried locally. 

The mission has also helped and distributed ration to as many as 17,000 needy Pakistanis families and individuals in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

"During this operation, the consulate provided accommodation and food to 460 Pakistanis in Dubai and Northern Emirates and then sent them back to Pakistan. Through its own resources, the consulate distributed free tickets among 561 Pakistanis," Ali told the media in Dubai on Saturday.

waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com





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