NEW YORK: The decision about the return transportation of some 750 Pakistanis, who were stranded in the United States because of the coronavirus-related suspension of flights, was expected “very soon”, Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan said on Friday.
“The issue of stranded Pakistanis is one of the key priorities for the (Pakistan) government, for the embassy and our consulates across the United states,” Khan said in an interview with the state-run Pakistan Television in Washington.
”We are in touch with Islamabad and we are working on various options and we hope to have a decision very soon,” he said, adding that the Pakistan embassy and the four consulates across the US were “doing their best to help the stranded Pakistanis” who are anxious to return home.
Pakistani envoy in NY assures help to virus-hit community
According to Khan said that Pakistani-American community members, who are concentrated in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts—the states worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic—were “disproportionately affected”.
The embassy and the consulates have been keeping in close touch with the community members, with Consul General Ayesha Ali in New York leading the effort, to coordinate help for those who have lost jobs as a result of lockdown, the ambassador said.
Khan said that The Pakistan embassy has been kept open despite the fact that other embassies in Washington have remained closed. “Consular facilities and other services are being extended to the community,” he added.
Responding to a question about casualties among Pakistani-Americans, he gave no figures, saying it was a “rapidly evolving situation. According to latest figures, there are 677,570 coronavirus cases in the United States, with the death toll at 34,617.