Ghulam Dastgir
Pakistan Ambassador to the UAE Ghulam Dastgir said UAE and Pakistan are closely coordinating the special flight operation to repatriate stranded Pakistanis. Image Credit:

Dubai: UAE and Pakistan are working closely to repatriate stranded Pakistanis from the UAE as at least 17 flights have been scheduled to be operated between April 20 and 28.

More than 3,500 stranded people are scheduled to travel on these special flights from UAE to Pakistan. More flights are expected to be announced later next week.

“The UAE has successfully coordinated with Pakistani government to operate additional flights to take back Pakistani nationals wishing to leave the UAE to Pakistan. A total of 17 flights have been scheduled. Six flights have been allocated to UAE-based airlines including Emirates and Air Arabia while 11 flights are being operated by the Pakistan’s national carrier PIA,” said Pakistan Ambassador to the UAE Ghulam Dastgir.

He told Gulf News that the special flight operation for the stranded people would not have been possible without the close coordination between the UAE and Pakistan.

“Pakistan government responding to the UAE government’s call and realising the problems of our people stranded here, decided to start ‘evacuation flights’ from Dubai and Abu Dhabi effective April 18 and opened up six Pakistani airports with effect from April 20 to accommodate maximum number of passengers,” he added.

He said the Pakistan government set up quarantine facilities at the airports on priority basis and increased passenger capacity to ensure smooth evacuation of Pakistanis from around the world, mainly from the UAE.

Regular flight operations will remain suspended in Pakistan until April 30 as part of precautionary measures due to coronavirus outbreak.

UAE Ambassador to Pakistan

Hamad Obaid Al Zaabi, UAE’s Ambassador to Pakistan, is also closely coordinating with the Pakistani authorities concerned to ensure smooth operation to repatriate stranded Pakistanis from the UAE.

“The pace of work and communication between the UAE and Pakistani officials continues through the use of technology to coordinate and accomplish work,” he tweeted.

“You can count on the UAE’s commitment to our friends and partners around the world in this critical time, where cooperation is needed more than ever,” he said in another tweet.

“You are doing a spectacular job in very challenging circumstances. We commend your efforts and stand with you, determined to continue our positive cooperation for the benefit of our people,” Al Zaabi tweeted while commending the efforts of Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, Special Assitant to Paksitan Prime Minister for Overseas Pakistanis.

Bukhari also tweeted to reply the UAE Ambssador and said: “UAE has been a brother to Pakistan and extremely cooperative and forthcoming each time. People of Pakistan are grateful to you for the help. Thank you for your kind words brother. We’re in this together!”

Special flights schedule

Two flydubai flights took off on April 14 carrying more than 400 Pakistani prisoners released from the UAE jails.

First special flight operated by the PIA carried first batch off 227 stranded people from Dubai to Islamabad.

At least six flights were operated on April 20 carrying 1500 passengers to from Dubai to different cities in Pakistan.

Six more flights are scheduled to take off from Dubai on April 24 including two PIA flights from Dubai to Faisalabad, one from Abu Dhabi to Peshawar, one from Abu Dhabi to Karachi and one each from Dubai to Multan and Karachi.

Also, five flights will take off from the UAE for Pakistan on April 28. The special flights will be oerpated to Islamabad, Karachi (two flights), Multan and Faisalabad.

How the passengers selected

More than 40,000 Pakistanis who want to go back home from UAE have registered with their diplomatic missions. Staff at the consulate call the people based on priority list and then tell them to buy their tickets.