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ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday sent a chartered PIA flight to Poland for repatriation of students and other Pakistani citizens stationed temporarily in Warsaw. The PIA Boeing 777 plane left from Lahore on Tuesday to Warsaw, the capital of Poland and would be back at midnight.

The plane will be evacuating more than 232 stranded Pakistanis by late Tuesday night, said a PIA spokesperson. The plane was dispatched at the behest of the Foreign Ministry. According to the PIA spokesperson, more flights would be operated on the instructions of the government of Pakistan.

The Pakistani Mission in Ukraine has evacuated 1,525 Pakistanis so far to neighbouring Poland, Romania, and Hungary. 232 Pakistanis were waiting to be repatriated to Pakistan in Poland.

According to one of the stranded Pakistani Advocate Amir Bhatti told Business Recorder on Monday that the embassy had requested to the Foreign Office number of times to arrange their repatriation. He further told the embassy they had taken care of stranded Pakistanis to their best; however, the evacuation process is taking so much time.

When contacted on Twitter on Monday, CEO PIA Air Marshal Arshad Malik responded to the tweet on Tuesday, saying “PIA offered its services since day one and was all prepared to launch, limiting factor was final go ahead from the Government of Pakistan, upon clearance, now our first aircraft is up in air, we shall remain a call away as and when authorized by the Government”

When the crisis began on February 24, there were around 7,000 Pakistanis in Ukraine (community 4,000, students 3,000), the majority of whom had already departed the country as per Pakistan Embassy’s instructions.

On March 4, Pakistan had almost completed the evacuation of its citizens stranded in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion.

Russian forces are yet to overthrow the government in Kyiv but thousands were reported to have died or been injured and more than a million people had fled Ukraine earlier since President Vladimir Putin ordered the biggest attack on a European state since 1945.

“The Embassy of Pakistan Ukraine has safely evacuated 98% of Pakistanis from Ukraine. Now only those few (around 30) Pakistanis are left in Ukraine who are stuck in areas of intense fight,” the mission had said in an update on Twitter.

The statement had added that the embassy had approached both Ukraine and Russia for opening up a humanitarian corridor that will enable it to evacuate the remaining Pakistanis.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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