PIA requested US for repatriation of Pakistani citizens

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airline (PIA) chief Arshad Malik on Saturday wrote a letter to US Ambassador Paul Jones, requesting for help in repatriating citizens stuck in the United States.

“We want to bring back Pakistanis stranded in the United States due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Malik said in a letter to the American ambassador.

“Because of the pandemic, flights have been cancelled and we would like the American Embassy to help us out in this regard. The American Embassy can contact the relevant departments and help us in repatriating our citizens.”

Pakistan has been gradually evacuating its nationals from different countries after flight operations were halted due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Islamabad last week began repatriating some of Pakistanis from the UAE, which had earlier warned countries refusing to take back nationals stranded by the coronavirus pandemic that it could review labour ties.

A PIA flight carried home 227 Pakistanis from the Emirates last weekend.

Thirteen more repatriation flights will depart the UAE between April 20 and April 28, Reuters reported, adding that they will be operated by Emirates, Air Arabia and PIA.

“The governments of UAE and Pakistan continue to work to facilitate further flights to repatriate Pakistani nationals.”

The national carrier has also brought back stranded Pakistanis from the UK.  

A special flight of the PIA to bring back stranded Pakistanis landed in Melbourne on Saturday, a spokesperson said.  According to the spokesperson, this was the first time a PIA flight had arrived in Melbourne.

“We are helping our citizens in their time of need. Flight 8962 will bring back more than 300 Pakistanis,” the spokesperson added.

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