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Around 108,592 Pakistani nationals in various countries have sought repatriation back to the country, as coronavirus pandemic continues to impacts lives across the globe.

In an informal virtual interaction with beat reporters on Friday, Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said that majority of those Pakistanis who have requested repatriation are those living in Gulf countries who have either lost their jobs or those on visit visas or were due to some other purposes but stranded in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Around 60,000 Pakistan nationals in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have registered themselves with Pakistani missions there requesting repatriation, while 16,000 Pakistani citizens in Saudi Arabia are also seeking repatriation.

The remaining are awaiting return from other countries. She, however, citied challenges in early repatriation of all the registered stranded Pakistanis, adding that absence of quarantine facilities in large scale is among the major challenges.

She said that so far 19,600 Pakistani citizens have been repatriated from 35 countries. About the number of Pakistani nationals who died abroad because of the coronavirus pandemic, she said that countries abroad do not share the data of those died due to Covid-19.

However, as per the unofficial data there are some 180 Pakistani citizens in various countries who lost their lives due to the disease, she added. The spokesperson pointed out that since the outbreak in various countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistan missions abroad are engaged in facilitating overseas Pakistanis.

She said that the ambassadors in Pakistan embassies abroad have also been authorized spend a specific amount from the welfare fund in assisting the overseas Pakistanis. Besides, the missions are also actively engaged in pursuing the Prime Minister's "Global Debt Relief Initiative" with their respective host countries.

To a question about the US blaming China for the spread of the virus, the spokesperson said that "this is not the time to engage in a blame-game", but all the countries should collectively cope with the common challenge to succeed in the fight against the Covid-19 and to save precious human lives.

Responding to another query, she said that the World Health Organization (WHO) is doing a great job and all the countries should coordinate their efforts through this platform to effectively cope with the global challenge.

About the Indian repeated ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC), she said that Pakistan understands that India through a plan has heightened the situation on the LoC and Working Boundary in a bid to hide its crimes in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

"We would continue to highlight the Indian atrocities in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir and to sensitize the international community about the grave human rights situations, and the worst atrocities against the people of Jammu and Kashmir," she added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020