ISLAMABAD: A PIA aircraft will go to Sana’a on Sunday while a Navy ship already on way to Yemen will reach Al Hodeida on Monday to evacuate the remaining 208 Pakistanis still stranded there, in what could possibly be the end of a nine-day evacuation operation.
According to an evacuation update issued by the Foreign Office on Saturday night, 174 Pakistanis are in Sana’a and 34 in Al Hodeida.
A total of 849 Pakistanis have already been evacuated.
PIA will operate a special flight to Sana’a on Sunday to bring the remaining Pakistanis, while a Navy ship will be reaching Al Hodeida on Monday.
“A special PIA flight has been planned for Sana’a tomorrow (Sunday) to bring back the 174 stranded compatriots. An aircraft is on stand by, ground clearances have been obtained, while exemption of ‘No Fly’ restriction is expected shortly,” the FO statement said.
Meanwhile, the navy ship PNS Aslat that reached Mukalla on Friday, but could not evacuate Pakistanis because of deterioration in law and order situation following the jailbreak there in which Al Qaeda reportedly freed 300 inmates, had to be diverted to the nearby Ash Shihr port. The ship on Saturday evacuated 148 Pakistanis. In addition to the Pakistanis, the ship helped evacuate 35 people of other nationalities. The nationalities of 23 were identified in the FO statement — eight Chinese, 11 Indians and four British citizens. The ship will reach Karachi on Tuesday.
A group of 12 Pakistanis has also been evacuated through land border with Oman. Before the Houthi takeover of Sana’a in September 2014, the statement said, there were some 3,000 Pakistanis living in different parts of Yemen.
“By the embassy’s reckoning, around 1,800 of our expatriates gradually exited the country” over the past few months, it added.
At the time of start of air strikes against Houthi targets by the Saudi-led coalition, the FO said, 912 expressed willingness for evacuation.
So far, 849 have been evacuated.
A Boeing 747 flight brought back 503 Pakistanis on March 31. Subsequently, 186 were evacuated from Aden on board a Chinese vessel to Djibouti and from there to Pakistan by a special PIA flight.
Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2015