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Pakistan: First country to repatriate thousands of nationals from the UAE

Filed on June 18, 2020 | Last updated on June 18, 2020 at 01.46 am
Ghulam Dastgir, Ambassador of Pakistan in the UAE

The UAE is home to around 1.6 million Pakistani nationals, who are working in all sectors from construction to transport, hospitality, health and other services. The routine two-way air traffic of around 30 flights in a day between UAE and Pakistan came to halt on March 21 owing to outbreak of Covid-19. With a registration of nearly 70,000 Pakistanis willing to be repatriated, Pakistan started its repatriation operation on April 18, tasking its Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Consulate General in Dubai to administer the biggest repatriation operation among Pakistan's Missions all around the world.

Pakistan became the first country in the UAE that has repatriated more than 17,000 of its nationals through 70 special flights of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) and some UAE airlines so far. The Embassy and the Consulate General in Dubai also transported more than 150 non-Covid-19 related dead bodies back home since suspension of regular flights.

Since March 26 until now, the Embassy and the Consulate General, with the help of Pakistani philanthropists, have distributed more than 16,000 ration bags among the needy Pakistani expats. Due to lockdown in Dubai and the northern emirates, the rations were home-delivered through Uber bike riders and Mission's cars. The Consulate General in Dubai also arranged free accommodation to hundreds of destitute Pakistanis struggling in these hard times as well as distributed more than 300 laptops/tablets among needy students for their online education in Pakistani schools in Dubai, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.

The Pakistan Embassy and Consulate General have worked tirelessly over these months to assist the community in the exceptional circumstances. I would like to thank the stranded Pakistanis for their understanding, patience and support in these abnormal conditions and assured them of extending all possible assistance in their early repatriation to Pakistan. I also thank the community for strictly following the guidelines issued by the UAE authorities to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Since majority of the Pakistani community is concentrated in Dubai and Northern Emirates, Consul-General Ahmed Amjad Ali and his team were seen among the people at all times.

Amjad Ali, Consul-General of Pakistan:
"We are highly indebted to the excellent cooperation of all UAE institutions, especially the Dubai Police and Dubai Airport authorities, who remained with us during our hard times."

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