Umrah pilgrims arrive at the Jeddah airport to board a special flight to Multan on April 18. PHOTO: Courtesy: Pakistan Consulate General in Jeddah

Islamabad thanks Abu Dhabi for repatriating stranded Pakistanis

Qureshi calls Nahyan; expresses gratitude for extending support in fight against Covid-19

Our Correspondent April 21, 2020
RAWALPINDI: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has expressed gratitude to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for extending support to Pakistan in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic and releasing 400 Pakistani prisoners and their repatriation to Pakistan.

He expressed these views during a telephonic conversation with his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

On Tuesday, at least 1,183 Pakistanis stranded in the UAE were repatriated.

An Emirates Airlines flight from Dubai carrying 250 passengers arrived in Peshawar and 200 others from Sharjah reached Multan. Three more flights carrying 733 Pakistanis landed in Karachi and Lahore early morning.

The passengers were screened and shifted to quarantine centres for 14 days so that they could be tested for the virus that has already affected more than 9,200 people across the country.

Also, the two leaders agreed on the importance of enhanced bilateral cooperation to jointly address the different challenges being faced by the two countries.

Lauding the recent Group of 20 announcement on debt services suspension, the foreign minister said, “It will help create fiscal space for the developing countries.”

Qureshi also shared his concerns at the sinister campaign in India demonising the Muslims under the pretext of coronavirus.

At least 1,180 stranded Pakistani nationals in UAE return home

The UAE foreign minister appreciated Pakistan's response in tackling the coronavirus pandemic and also underscored that concrete steps would be required globally to mitigate the impact of this virus on the economies.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority sources said more flights would be sent to the UAE to repatriate the remaining Pakistanis.

Earlier this month, a special flight of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) repatriated 136 Pakistanis stranded in Iraq.

Flight number PK-9814 had reached Islamabad where a special team of doctors examined and screened the passengers.

Along with the aircraft crew, the passengers had been quarantined at a local hotel, whereas one passenger was shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences due to high fever.

Blood samples of the passengers and PIA crew were taken at the hotel. Only those who tested negative for Covid-19 were allowed to go home.