RAWALPINDI: The government on Wednesday enforced the Pakistan Essential Services (Maintenance) Act, 1952 allowing the Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited (PIACL) to rescue, evacuate and repatriate Pakistanis and foreigners stranded in different countries.
The Act has been implemented with immediate effect and for a period of six months.
Consequent to the Covid-19 pandemic, a large number of Pakistanis and diaspora are still stranded in various countries with expired visas and limited resources, according to a spokesman for PIA.
The spokesman in a press release said that in order to ensure an uninterrupted and continual operation of rescue, evacuation and repatriation efforts, the services of PIACL had been placed under the Essential Services (Maintenance) Act 1952, with an immediate effect and for a period of six months.
It is hoped that through the implementation of this act, the departments and employees of the company will generate greater synergy in achieving the objective of complete repatriation of stranded Pakistanis across the globe and the company will contribute positively to this national service, which is a gigantic task, considering the number of expatriate Pakistanis stranded abroad.
The government is cognisant and recognises the efforts put in by the brave men and women employees of the national flag carrier by putting their lives at risk in operating over 160 flights and evacuating over 27,000 Pakistani and other nationals till date.
The spokesman said that PIA had been operating special flights to repatriate Pakistanis stranded abroad despite the risk of coronavirus and had brought back more than 27,000 people so far.
He said the PIA CEO received complaints from thousands of people who had been waiting in different countries to be repatriated to their home country.
PIA would continue the operation with the government permission till the last Pakistani returned home, he said. The spokesman announced that PIA would also repatriate the bodies of those who had died abroad.