RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan International Airlines operated a special flight for Hindu pilgrims from Karachi to Peshawar on Thursday.

The special flight was operated at the request of the Pakistan Hindu Council’s leader and member of the National Assembly, Dr Ramesh Kumar.

A PIA spokesman said that a large number of local and foreign Hindu pilgrims travelled from Karachi to Peshawar via Kirk on the special flight.

He said the pilgrims visited the sacred temple of Shri Paramhans Dayal Ji Maharaj Samadhi in Karak. Special prayers were offered at the temple for the security and religious harmony of Pakistan

On his return to Karachi, Dr Kumar thanked the government of Pakistan, local authorities and PIA for their hospitality.

He said that it has been proven that all religions in Pakistan are free for their rituals.

The government is taking important steps to increase religious tourism in the country, he said.

The MNA said that PIA has been asked to operate such international flights now so that people from foreign countries can easily visit Pakistan.

The PIA spokesman said that the national flag carrier will assist in all purposes that are in the national interest and to promote tourism in the country.

PIA arranges special flights to serve followers of different religions, said PIA CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik

“We want to serve humanity in the light of Quaid-i-Azam’s words and this has always been the mission of PIA,” CEO Arshad Malik said.

Pakistan is the homeland of believers of different religions and PIA is the national airline, said the CEO.

Meanwhile, PIA operated its first flight to Fujairah (United Arab Emirates) with 186 passengers onboard, including the PIA CEO, on Thursday.

The PIA’s first flight took off from Bacha Khan Airport, Peshawar and touched down at Fujairah airport in the afternoon.

On landing at the airport, the PIA flight was given water cannon salute by crash tenders with powerful cannons on taxiway in the honour of the flight.

The PIA spokesman said at the airport members of the royal family of Fujairah and other senior officials welcomed the PIA’s flight and CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik.

A traditional welcome dance was performed at the airport on arrival of the flight.

The PIA flight was started at the special request of the emir of Fujairah.

At the airport, he said that the immigration of all passengers was completed within 15 minutes under special arrangements made by the Fujairah authorities for the PIA flight.

In addition, special busses were arranged for PIA passengers which will also provide free access to other cities.

It may be mentioned here that PIA launched regular service to Najaf, Iraq last month with 91 passengers onboard the first flight.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2021

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