ISLAMABAD, Jun 10 (APP):The government has so far repatriated more than 61,000 stranded Pakistanis from 50 countries, with thousands still stuck at the foreign shores, looking for their return amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Nevertheless, the evacuation of such a large number of stranded nationals is a feather in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government’s cap, which took lead in launching the world’s largest repatriation operation soon after the imposition of travel restrictions worldwide to curb the coronavirus spread.
As of June 8, at least 61,165 Pakistanis were brought to the country via air and land routes, said a document shared by the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OP&HRD) on Wednesday.
Out of total, 56,836 were brought to the country through special flights, whereas repatriation of 4,329 Pakistanis was done via land borders of India, Afghanistan and Iran.
The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries remained a main focus for the government where a whooping number of expats were still stuck due to limited number of flights operated by Pakistan.
Some 23,889 were evacuated from the United Arab Emirates, followed by
Saudi Arabia from where some 7,428 citizens brought back to the country.
Similarly, 4,156 were repatriated form Qatar, 4,301 form the United Kingdom, 2,987 from Afghanistan (via land route), 2,956 Oman, 1,159 Malaysia, 1,349 the United States of America, 924 Iran (via land route) and 418 from India (via land route).
Multiple countries such as Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Canada, China, Congo, Egypt, Germany, Iraq, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Maldives, Norway ,South Africa, Somalia Sri Lanka, Sudan Turkey, Thailand, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan were also among others from where a number of stranded nationals were airlifted by the government.
The repatriated nationals also included Tablighis (2,018), Prisoners/ Detainees (1,712) and Zaireen (1,326).
The repatriation process would last till the return of all stranded citizens, an official of the OP&HRD ministry told APP, pointing out the gradual increase in repatriation flights.
He said the government would airlift over 10,500 stranded Pakistanis from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this week (June 7 to June 15) by operating 46 special flights under the world’s largest repatriation operation.
More than 20 flights would be operated for bringing over 5,000 stranded nationals to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia, he added.
He pointed out that repatriation operation of the expats would continue in phases.“Laid off Pakistani workers, students and people with expired visas are given top priority during the repatriation process,” the official added.
He said around 2,500 stranded citizens would be evacuated from Qatar via 10 special flights, to be operated between June 7 to June 15.
To a query he said, all the passengers were being tested at the country’s airports.