RAWALPINDI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will repatriate 6,461 Pakistanis stranded in Gulf states as two flights carrying 155 and 145 passengers are expected to arrive from Doha and Bahrain on Monday.
Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan told media at his public secretariat in Saddar that instead of Airbus the PIA would operate Boeing 777 to bring back the Pakistanis from Dubai, Sharjah, Doha and Bahrain on 18 flights before Eid. The operation of Boeing would increase the number of seats by 2,000.
On the other hand, a spokesman for PIA said one flight from Doha will arrive with 155 passengers and another from Bahrain with 145 passengers on July 5.
As many as 3,394 passengers will be repatriated from the United Arab Emirates by 10 PIA flights which will be operated between July 5 and July 18. In addition, six flights carrying about 2,916 passengers will be operated from Doha from July 6 to 18.
Moreover, two Boeing 777 carrying 722 people will arrive between July 8 and 11.
The minister also said though the Ring Road project was a provincial matter he was hopeful that work on it would start in September.
To a question, he said the surge in prices of commodities was not a public concern; the actual public issue is unemployment. However, he said 1.6 million people had been sent abroad during the PTI government for jobs.
He said earlier about five million Afghan refugees had come to Pakistan and about two million of whom got Pakistani nationality, but this time about half a million refugees were expected though a major part of Pakistan-Afghan border has been sealed.
“In case they enter Pakistan, they will not be allowed to move to the cities,” he said.
To a question, Mr Khan said as far as he knows the government will not give any base to the US nor would allow it using its airspace for drone attacks.
Mr Khan said it was for the first time that the political leadership on the desire of the opposition gathered under one roof to discuss the national security situation emerging in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign forces from there.
“An invitation from military and intelligence leaders for another similar session with a parliamentary committee on security has been given,” he said.
Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2021