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A total of 62,709 stranded Pakistani nationals have registered themselves with various mission of Pakistan abroad for swift repatriation from various countries amid lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This was stated by the Director-General Emergency Crisis Management Unit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Salman Athar, while briefing Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday. The director general gave a detailed briefing to the foreign minister about the stranded Pakistanis awaiting repatriation in various countries. So far, he added that 11,529 Pakistanis have been repatriated from abroad, while the total number of the registered Pakistani citizens awaiting repatriation from foreign countries is 62,709.
While speaking, Foreign Minister Qureshi said that government was utilizing all possible resources for phase-wise repatriation of stranded Pakistanis from various countries. He said that the government was fully aware of the pains and difficulties of overseas Pakistanis, who wished to return to their home country.
The foreign minister also reviewed the calls, complaints received at the Crisis Management Unit of Pakistanis abroad and the steps taken to address them. He also reviewed the performance of the cell and its response to the complaints of overseas Pakistanis.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Ali Bukhari and Special Assistant on National Security Moeed Yusuf also joined the foreign minister for a meeting later in which detailed discussion on the repatriation of the stranded Pakistanis was held.
Speaking to them, Qureshi said that the third phase of bringing back the stranded Pakistanis had been started in which 7,000 citizens would be repatriated in a week. He said that with the cooperation of the provinces, the capacity had been further enhanced, which would help in repatriating more and more Pakistanis from abroad. Additionally, he added that efforts were being made to ensure implementation on the SOPs for conducting the tests as well as the quarantine facilities at all the airports of the country with a view to prevents further spread of the virus.
The foreign minister also emphasized the need for taking special precautions in the coming days to prevent the local spread of the coronavirus,
Earlier in the day, Pakistan High Commission, Colombo coordinated with the Government of Pakistan and local Sri Lankan authorities for the successful return of 50 stranded Pakistanis via Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL 1185.
Deputy High Commissioner Tanvir Ahmad was present on behalf of the high commissioner to see off the departing Pakistanis at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo, the high commission said in a press release. It further stated that the returning Pakistanis thanked the Government of Pakistan and Pakistan High Commission for arranging their repatriation to Pakistan.
They also expressed satisfaction and acknowledged efforts by the high commission for the welfare and well-being of community members faced with difficulties in the wake of the outbreak of covid-19, it added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020