The Prime Minister’s special assistant for the development of Pakistani human and resources abroad, said Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari, has given an indication that the government will add more flights in its repatriation program next week to repatriate a maximum number of Pakistanis. stranded from Saudi Arabia.
Addressing the Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia via conference call, SAPM said Pakistan currently operated two flights a week to repatriate its citizens from the Kingdom, which could increase in the next phase.
“I am putting all my efforts to increase this number from three to five next week,” he said, assuring Pakistanis overseas that the government had decided to repatriate its citizens regularly in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. “Zulfikar Bukhari said Previously, the country had the capacity to repatriate 2,000 people per week, which had increased to 6,000 in the current phase.
The number could increase to 8,000 in the next few days after obtaining the desired results, he added.
He said the government had a responsibility to airlift large numbers of stranded Pakistanis from around the world.
He added that preference was being given to those who qualified the definition of “stranded citizens”.
He said there were about 15,500 Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia who intended to return home immediately. It included 6,000 laid-off workers, 3,500 were those with paid or unpaid leave, and the rest belonged to other categories. The fired workers also involved those who had been expelled by Saudi Arabian companies even before the coronavirus pandemic, he explained.
According to official data, he said: “Only 3,066 workers are those who have been laid off by companies in Saudi Arabia as a result of the coronavirus.” SAPM said the government had asked all Pakistani embassies and consulates abroad to give top priority to sick people during the repatriation process.
Arrangements were also made to guarantee the transport of the bodies to Pakistan, he said.
He urged all Pakistanis overseas to avoid unnecessary trips to the country and gave those compatriots who had expired visas or lost jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis an opportunity.
In a consultation, he said that Saudi Arabia had issued a decree to prohibit its companies from firing employees.
“Thanks to the Saudi Arabian government that treats our people better than other countries,” he said.
He said that Pakistan was being appreciated around the world for its efforts to repatriate citizens from around the world. Zulfkiar Bukhari also praised the Pakistani community for caring for their field mates in Saudi Arabia. The virtual town hall meeting was organized by the OP HRD ministry to inform expats in Saudi Arabia about the decisions made by the government to provide aid to the Pakistani diaspora. More than 50 people attended the meeting, including officials from the Pakistani Embassy and Consulate General in Saudi Arabia who live there.