Coronavirus: Pakistanis in UAE express concern over ticket price for special flights

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Dubai - Many of the residents are jobless or don't have the financial means to afford a ticket.

By Muzaffar Rizvi

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Published: Wed 22 Apr 2020, 8:40 PM

Last updated: Wed 22 Apr 2020, 10:52 PM

Stranded Pakistanis in the UAE have welcomed special flights initiative by the UAE and Pakistani governments to facilitate them to return their homes, however they said authorities concerned should reconsider high ticket prices, which they are unable to afford after losing jobs or availing unpaid leaves.
Talking to Khaleej Times, workers who lost their jobs said it is difficult for them to survive without earnings in the UAE and bear expenses accommodation, utilities and food expenses.
Also read: UAE, Pakistan working to increase repatriation flights
"We will request the authorities concerned to take up our cases on humanitarian grounds and arrange special flights with a reasonable discount on tickets," one of the stranded Pakistan workers said.
Currently, 40,000 people have registered with the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai for repatriation. It includes over 10,000 overseas Pakistanis who were rendered jobless because of the coronavirus outbreak.
"The UAE government brought stranded Emiratis in other countries free of charge. We appeal to Prime Minister Imran Khan to subsidise airfare for those Pakistani workers who have lost jobs and returning to the country," said Faeza Hussain.
"How can a jobless person - with family - afford a Dh1,500 per seat for a one-way travel on these special flights? It's a request to reduce airfare on special flights," Hussain said.
Waseem Abbas, a resident of Dubai, said he has been trying to get a ticket from last one month but has gotten no response from the airlines and the authorities concerned.
"I want to return to Pakistan as I have no savings to stay here without a job," he said.
Sajid Iqbal, who used to work for a limousine service company, said he has no food left to survive in the UAE and is anxious to return home immediately.
"I have medical expenses and some other problems as well. I appreciate the initiative of special flights and consider myself lucky if I get a chance to get on board as soon as possible," Iqbal said.
Another jobless worker said he is stranded with 9 other people in the room and no one has a job now.
"We are nine unemployed people living in a room. I want to go back home to see my family as soon as possible," he said.
Muhammad Nizam Uddin Khan said he has pinned his hopes on the special flights back home at the earliest. "I am a Pakistani citizen. I have lost my job and now want to go back home as soon as possible," Khan said.
muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com



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