Pakistani students have raised a storm on social media over the issue of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) charging an absurdly high airfare to China.
According to the details, due to coronavirus restrictions that are still in place in China, airlines have increased the one-way fare from Pakistan to China and started charging Rs 0.5 million to Rs 0.8 million.
PIA – Pakistan’s national airline – has also increased fares and is charging up to Rs 0.5 million for a one-way ticket from Pakistan to China which is unbearable for students especially.
As a result, students have taken to Twitter to highlight their predicament and are lashing out at the airline for charging such high fares. It is being reported that normally the airfare from Pakistan to China costs Rs 55000 – 75000, however, it has jumped to an eye-watering Rs 0.5 million.
“PIA is looting students. It is our national airline but they are charging above 500k rupees instead of 70k rupees per ticket. The price needs to be reduced,” one netizen said.
PIA is looting students. It is our national airline but they are charging above 500k rupees instead of 70k rupees per ticket. This price needs to be reduced.#PIALootingPakStudents#takeUsBackToChina pic.twitter.com/2K5witysLV
— Yasir (@RealYasir__Khan) September 13, 2022
Pertinent to mention that last month, PIA announced a 10 percent discount for Pakistani students traveling between Pakistan and China. Students returning from China after the completion of their studies can avail of the discount immediately, a PIA official stated.
Plight of Pakistani students
Due to the pandemic, international students were locked out of China — and their universities — for over two years. Pakistani students are among thousands of others that were affected by China’s zero-COVID policy. Reports suggest that are some 7,000 international students from Pakistan studying in China.
Many were forced to attend classes online, which presented a set of challenges for those with unreliable internet access. Medical students in particular were unable to move forwards with their careers, as countries such as Pakistan and India warned that online degrees would not be recognized as valid qualifications. This is due to a lack of hands-on practical work, which is necessary for them to work in the field.
Recently, the Chinese embassy announced the opening up of visas for long-term Pakistani (international) students receiving academic education in China as well as allowed entry for business card holders.