Over 35,000 Pakistanis brought back so far, NA told
There are about 122,700 expatriates, who want to return to Pakistan, says Murad Saeed
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly was informed on Monday that over 35,000 Pakistanis stranded in different parts of the world had so far been brought back to the country.
Speaking in the lower house, Minister for Communications Murad Saeed said, “There are about 122,700 expatriates, who want to return to Pakistan from various parts of the world.”
The communications minister said that about 73 bodies had also been transported from the United Arab Emirates and 46 from Saudi Arabia.
He said soon after the registration of stranded Pakistanis, the government had approached the respective countries for their safe return, adding that the government had enhanced the testing capacity and increased the number of quarantine centres to accommodate more overseas Pakistanis on their return.
Saeed said that the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government on the request of the federal government had provided special budget for the return of Pakistanis from the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
“The government is ready to give money for the purchase of tickets to stranded Pakistanis as they are an asset of the country,” Murad said, requesting the Sindh government to support the federal government in bringing back the overseas Pakistanis belonging to the province.
Condition of 48-hour wait for testing abolished
Saeed also asked the overseas Pakistanis not to pay more than 1,120 Dirham for tickets. “They could register their complaints on the number given on the website of overseas Pakistanis ministry.”
He said it was the utmost effort of the government to bring back the stranded Pakistanis on an emergency basis, adding that it had also provided rations to 1,500 Pakistani families in the UAE.
Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that he would inform the lower house about the steps taken to bring back the stranded Pakistanis from various parts of the world on Wednesday.
Earlier, the opposition members demanded early repatriation of Pakistanis stranded abroad.
Khawaja Asif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz said that the government should come up with a special programme to bring back the Pakistanis.
PML-N's Ahsan Iqbal said the government should chalk out an emergency programme for the safe return of Pakistanis from abroad.
Pakistan Peoples Party's Raja Pervaiz Ashraf also said that government should provide food to the Pakistanis sitting outside embassies of the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
BNP-M's Akhtar Mengal also asked the government to expand flight operations for Balochistan to bring back citizens from abroad.
The aviation minister said he would apprise the National Assembly of the affairs of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Wednesday.
On a point of order, he said, "I will apprise the National Assembly on Wednesday of the PIA aircraft tragedy."
Asif asked the minister to also inform the legislators about the outsourcing of airports and selling of PIA's hotels.
Minister for Energy Omar Ayub requested the National Assembly speaker to send the issue of appointments in Quetta Electricity Supply Company (Qesco) to the committee concerned for deliberation.
Earlier, the lawmakers from Balochistan province, on a point of order, said that the appointments had been made in Qesco on fake domiciles and the matter should be put before the relevant committee.