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Pakistan

Those who banned PIA now want the airline's help in evacuation: Fawad

  • Information minister's remarks come in reference to the suspension of PIA's licence by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)
Updated 28 Aug, 2021

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Hussain said on Saturday that those who banned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) are now asking for help from the same airline to evacuate their people from Afghanistan.

Fawad made these comments with reference to the suspension of PIA's licence by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in July 2020 due to safety concerns.

The PIA has been trying to get provisional permission to operate flights in EU states. However, so far, the EASA has refused to lift the ban on PIA.

European Union ban on PIA flights comes into effect tonight

In April, EASA's ban of the PIA was extended for an indefinite period. It directed the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) to get its safety audit done by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the aviation sector watchdog .

However, after the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, the EU has sought help from the PIA to evacuate their employees from Afghanistan.

Last week, in a letter to PIA Chief Executive Officer Arshad Malik and Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan, EU Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara had requested a special aircraft for evacuation of members of an EU delegation and their dependents stranded in Kabul on humanitarian grounds.

So far, PIA has evacuated thousands of foreign nationals from Afghanistan. The heads of several international organisations have acknowledged efforts of the national carrier.

PIA to evacuate EU, ADB employees from Afghanistan

Evacuation efforts

Addressing a press conference in Karachi, the minister said Pakistan has so far evacuated thousands of foreign nationals from Afghanistan, and PIA alone brought over 2,000 people to the country.

“Apart from that, as many as 27,000 people arrived into Pakistan from the Chaman border and some from the Torkham border,” he said.

Fawad added that Afghan nationals possessing valid visas can come into Pakistan. “We will give our complete support to Afghanistan and it can only become stable if their institutions are intact.”

He insisted that the international powers should make decisions with "rationale and not by force" when it comes to the Afghan crisis.

The minister noted that Afghanistan's situation can deteriorate further if the world didn't pay heed to Pakistan's advice. “We hold credit for prudent analysis on the Afghan situation and what was earlier said by our prime minister is now a reality,” he added.

He emphasised that the world should not wait for Afghanistan to collapse. “We need to engage with authorities in Afghanistan and the world has the responsibility to help Afghans in governance along with maintaining social and political stability in the country.”

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