Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari. PHOTO: PID/FILE

Expats donate over Rs100m to PM’s coronavirus fund

2,000 Pakistani nationals airlifted from different countries to motherland

APP April 19, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari has said that over Rs100 million has been donated to the Prime Minister's Covid-19 Relief Fund by the Pakistani expatriates in response to the website launched by his ministry.

"Over 646,580 dollars (Rs100 million) has been donated by the overseas Pakistanis so far," said Bukhari, while addressing the Virtual Town Hall Meeting arranged by the Pakistani-Americans to discuss the issues faced by them across the United States amid the coronavirus crisis.

The special session, which was held the other day, was attended by Pakistan's Ambassador to the US Asad Majeed Khan, Consul General Aysha Ali, Pakistani businessmen, first responders, survivors of the coronavirus and representatives of the US-based Pakistani organisations.

The special assistant said the PM's corona relief fund has received over Rs2 billion so far, out of which 70 per cent contribution was made by the locals.

"The fund has received an unprecedented response from the locals," he added.

Highlighting the government's steps for the facilitation of Pakistanis stranded abroad, he said some 2,000 Pakistani nationals have been airlifted from different countries to the motherland, while the number would be increased to 6,000 per week by April 20.

Covid-19: How should Pakistan tackle the pandemic

Bukhari said the government has almost finalised a fresh repatriation plan for the stranded Pakistanis under which some 17 special flights would be operated for the United Arab Emirates to bring back those Pakistanis who were stuck in transit or had lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the government was also negotiating with the Qatar Airways to repatriate Pakistanis from the US as presently the Pakistan International Airlines is not operating any direct flight to New York due to various reasons.

To a query, he said the overseas ministry was working out a plan for bringing the dead bodies of expats to Pakistan from other countries.

The bodies from Saudi Arabia and the US would be airlifted soon, he added.

Zulfikar Bukhari said the plan for repatriation of the stranded Pakistanis in America would be shared with the Pakistani Embassy in the US soon so that it could inform them timely.

Ambassador Asad Majeed on the occasion said the Pakistani consulates have collected the details of all the Pakistanis who were stuck in the US after the closure of international flights by Pakistan.


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