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April 6, 2015

Govt using all possible means for safe evacuation of Pakistanis from Yemen: FO

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April 6, 2015


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has been using all possible means for complete, early and safe evacuation of all the stranded Pakistanis from Yemen.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam in a statement said that before the September 2014 events in Sanaa, Pakistan’s Embassy had an estimated figure of 3,000 Pakistanis residing across Yemen. She said that following the rapid deterioration of the security situation, and as a consequence of advisories issued by the Pakistan Embassy to community members, a large number left Yemen.
By the embassy’s reckoning, around 1,800 of expatriates gradually exited the country. The spokesperson said after further deterioration of the security situation in February 2014, and the UNSG’s pronouncement that “Yemen is collapsing before our eyes”, the embassy ascertained willingness of community members for emergency evacuation.
She said only 278 expressed their willingness initially. However, following the March 27 air strikes in Sanaa and other cities, the number jumped to 912. The spokesperson said in keeping with the instructions and guidance of the prime minister for immediate evacuation of all stranded Pakistanis in Yemen by all available means, a Crisis Management Cell (CMC) was set up in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on March 28, to chalk out and implement an emergency evacuation plan.
The plan envisaged air, naval and land evacuation through third countries for the entire community in Yemen, she added. The spokesperson said given the extremely delicate security situation in Sanaa, and the partial damage to the airport, Pakistanis living in the capital were brought to the Al Hudeida port by road.
She said from there they were airlifted by a special flight operated, after obtaining an exemption of No Fly restriction from Riyadh. The Boeing 747 flight brought back 503 compatriots on March 31. The spokesperson said while two Pakistan Navy ships had been despatched to the area to assist the evacuation mission on

March 29 and 30, and were expected to arrive in 5-6 days in Aden, the eruption of fresh clashes in the city necessitated an alternative plan.
She said the Chinese support was enlisted since their ships were available close to Aden, undertaking an evacuation operation for their citizens. Subsequently, evacuation of 186 Pakistanis from Aden to Djibouti, through a Chinese vessel, and from Djibouti to Islamabad by a special PIA flight was undertaken on April 2-3. A special camp office was set up in Djibouti to facilitate the transit and transfer.
“Meanwhile, the situation in Mokallah, where we had the third big cluster of Pakistanis in Yemen, and which had been relatively safe earlier, became critical following an al-Qaeda jailbreak,” she said.She said while PNS Aslat, despatched earlier, arrived in Mokallah on April 3, roads leading to the port had been closed.
Therefore, through a discreetly planned exercise, the operation was switched to nearby Ash Shihr port and 148 Pakistanis had been safely evacuated, earlier today and 35 other foreign nationals also requiring emergency evacuation were also on board. These include eight Chinese, 11 Indians and four British citizens.
The ship will arrive at Karachi on April 7. The spokesperson said assistance is also being provided, through Pakistan’s Embassy in Oman, to 12 Pakistanis for evacuation across the land border with Oman.
She said two clusters of Pakistani community in Yemen still await evacuation; 174 compatriots who could not, or did not, want to move to Al Hudeida for the planned airlift on 31st Match and are now stuck in Sana’a; and 34 community members who are gathered in Al Hudeida.
A special PIA flight has been planned for Sana’a on Sunday to bring back the 174 stranded compatriots. An aircraft is on standby, ground clearances have been obtained, while exemption of “No Fly” restriction is expected shortly. The spokesperson said as for Al Hudeida, a Pakistan Navy vessel will arrive there Sunday morning to evacuate the 34 Pakistanis.




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