The coronavirus pandemic has left a lot of people stranded away from home but there is good news for those stuck in Pakistan or Pakistanis stuck outside; the government has announced that all international flights will resume from June 20.
Dr. Moeed Yusuf, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Security, made the announcement on Wednesday at a joint press conference, along with Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Overseas Pakistanis.
He said, “We are opening all international flights with 25 per cent capacity with affect from June 20 in a bid to expedite the process of bringing back our citizens stranded abroad”.
He also informed the passengers that they could follow the normal reservation procedures and buy tickets directly from the airlines, instead of getting in touch with Pakistani consulates and embassies for repatriation flights. He reiterated that “these are repatriation flights and will start operating at 25 per cent capacity from June 20. If you don’t need to come back, please don’t come back right now”.
The flights will be resumed in phases as Ghulam Dastagir, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UAE, explained; “In first phase, all international airlines are allowed to book stranded Pakistanis from June 21 onward. It will help facilitate overseas Pakistanis who stranded after the ban on international flights in March”. This particularly includes “worker/labours” stuck in other countries.
Yusuf further said that up to 40,000 to 50,000 Pakistanis will return to Pakistan per week, starting from June 21 onwards, following the ease in the ban on international flights.
He also said, “We are ready to facilitate stranded Pakistanis. All passengers will not be screened for Covid-19. However, passengers will have to self-quarantined at home for 14 days”.