- NA told that 54,116 stranded Pakistanis have been brought back to the country so far
Karachi: The country will be repatriating all stranded Pakistanis in Europe and the Middle East by July 20, according to the aviation minister.
Addressing the National Assembly on Friday, Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that overseas Pakistanis are the nation's asset and contribute to the country's economy. He shared that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has operated special flights to bring overseas Pakistanis from the Middle East.
Sarwar said so far, 54,116 stranded Pakistanis have been brought to the country, Radio Pakistan reported. Those in Europe and the UK are also being repatriated through chartered flights, the minister shared.
Last week, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Fly Dubai cancelled flights to Pakistan owing to what they claimed flight approval revocation by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Since the cancellation, people intending to come to Pakistan or leave the country have been facing hardship. However, the CAA issued a statement to clarify its position, and categorically stated that it has not revoked or cancelled any flight authorisation granted to foreign air carriers, adding that the sole responsibility of "such commercial rescheduling / cancellation of flight operations to Pakistan rests solely and completely on concerned foreign air carriers"
The statement added that owing to the prevailing Covid-19 situation across the globe, CAA, upon the directive of the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), curtailed inbound international flight operations to 20 % of actual Summer-21 Schedule to Pakistan with effect from May 5, 2021 and extended up to July 15, 2021.
"The excuse of cancelling already booked, confirmed flights / seats owing to flight approval revocation by Pakistan CAA is untenable and Pakistan CAA, currently, has no intervention either in over-booking of passengers on flights operated from outside Pakistan or cancellation of these flights to Pakistan."