According to media reports, stranded Pakistanis in the UAE are requesting the government of Pakistan to lessen airfare so that they can easily get back to their families in the coming days.
According to a report published in Khaleej Times, stranded Pakistanis have welcomed special flights initiative by the UAE and Pakistani governments to facilitate them to return their homes, however, they said authorities concerned should reconsider high ticket prices, which they are unable to afford after losing jobs or availing unpaid leaves.
Coronavirus: Pakistanis in UAE express concern over ticket price for special flights to Pakistan https://t.co/yKtPzOkFx2
— Khaleej Times (@khaleejtimes) April 22, 2020
Sources close to Prime Minister House told GVS that Dr Moeed W. Yusuf, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Division, is likely to get in touch with the people concerned.
Khaleej Times reported that the workers who lost their jobs said that it is difficult for them to survive without earnings in the UAE and bear expenses accommodation, utilities and food expenses. “We will request the authorities concerned to take up our cases on humanitarian grounds and arrange special flights with a reasonable discount on tickets,” one of the stranded Pakistani workers said.
Currently, 40,000 people have registered with the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai for repatriation. It includes over 10,000 overseas Pakistanis who were rendered jobless because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“The UAE government brought stranded Emiratis in other countries free of charge. We appeal to Prime Minister Imran Khan to subsidise airfare for those Pakistani workers who have lost their jobs and are returning to the country,” said Faeza Hussain. “How can a jobless person – with family – afford a Dh 1,500 per seat for a one-way travel on these special flights? It’s a request to reduce airfare on special flights,” Hussain said.
Waseem Abbas, a resident of Dubai, said he has been trying to get a ticket from last one month but has gotten no response from the airlines and the concerned authorities. “I want to return to Pakistan as I have no savings to stay here without a job,” he said.
Sajid Iqbal, who used to work for a limousine service company, said he has no food left to survive in the UAE and is anxious to return home immediately. “I have medical expenses and some other problems as well. I appreciate the initiative of special flights and consider myself lucky if I get a chance to get on board as soon as possible,” Iqbal said.
It is worth mentioning that the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Thursday announced that it will operate more relief flights to bring back stranded Pakistani passengers from Australia and South Korea, ARY News reported.
According to PIA spokesperson, the special flights will operate from Islamabad airport on Thursday and Friday to bring back the Pakistanis stuck in Australia and South Korea.
Meanwhile, the national flag carrier has also announced to lower its fares after the CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik took notice of the higher fares charged from overseas Pakistanis returning to the country. “Tickets with updated fares will now be available on the e-ticketing system,” said the PIA spokesman.