Dubai: Some 140 destitute stranded Pakistanis flew from Sharjah to Karachi on Thursday on a special ‘charity flight’, thanks to good Samaritans in the UAE.
A group of Pakistani residents in the UAE joined hands to charter a flight to send poor people back home. The chartered flight operated by Serene Air took off from Sharjah International Airport on Thursday morning.
First charity chartered flight
“This was the first chartered flight booked for the poor Pakistanis who were unable to buy tickets and most of them were homeless and job seekers who had come on visit visas,” said one of the volunteers who do not want to give his name. He said that he does not any publicity for himself or for any of volunteers in his group but do want to highlight the good work being done by a number of Pakistani philanthropists who are quietly helping the people in need.
The same group of Pakistanis have so far provided free tickets to more than 400 stranded people. “We have earlier been sending people on PIA flights. Since PIA tickets were quite expensive ranging from Dh1200 to Dh1650, we decided to charter the flight which cost us much less. We managed to buy ticket for Dh1025 only and chartered the full flight for around Dh130,000 from Sharjah to Karachi. We are happy that more people were accommodated on the special flight with less money,” said another volunteer.
The volunteers group comprises of young Pakistanis who work at different organisation in the UAE. They swung into action to help the homeless and poor stranded Pakistanis after some videos of them sleeping on the pavements went viral.
How it all started
They went to them to find out their issues and prepared a plan to repatriate them. They pooled their resources to buy tickets for them and some business community members also encouraged them for their good cause. They also provided food to the people in need until they were sent back home.
With the help of Pakistani Consulate General in Dubai, their documents were sorted out and some legal issues were resolved before their flight tickets were booked.
The group also arranged for them to travel from Karachi to different parts of Pakistan by road. They coordinated with Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shallwani who helped the passengers upon arrival at Karachi airport.
According to an official at the Pakistan Embassy in Abu Dhabi, more than 85,000 Pakistanis were repatriated on special flights from the UAE from April 18 to July 5. Pakistan International Airlines carried more than 60,000 passengers while rest of them flew back home on UAE based airlines.
Repatriation flights operation ended in the first week of July and not the airlines are operating regular passengers flight between UAE and Pakistan.