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March 31, 2020

200 Pakistanis stuck in Turkey

Top Story

March 31, 2020

LAHORE: Almost 200 Pakistanis are stuck in Istanbul because Pakistan and Turkey shut down their airspace. Now they can’t leave Turkey and situation there is ‘extremely bad’, they say. While Pakistan will open airspace on April 4, Turkey’s airspace is closed till April 17. This calls for government of Pakistan’s intervention to bring these people back. “We have limited resources now. In Istanbul almost everything is closed so it is difficult for us to survive. We want to return as soon as possible,” said Omar who is on a visit visa there to meet his wife who is a student in Turkey. “Here we have to pay daily hotel rent. Istanbul is also partially locked down now and we have no idea when things will return to normal. Among the 200 people we have elderly citizens, kids and women. We have been consistently in contact with the Pakistan Embassy but unfortunately even our government is not sure on the opening of airspace so that passengers could check for having alternative measures. The thing is that the cases in Turkey are rising very quickly and its becoming very hard for us to keep us safe.” Till Sunday there was shortage of medicine and other resources but on Monday it was learnt that the Consulate is providing food and medicine to those who go to the Consulate but they have provided no accommodation. In a video message received from the Pakistan Embassy in Istanbul, the ConsulGeneral Bilal Khan Pasha is saying the Consulate is providing food, medicines and accommodation to the stranded Pakistanis waiting to fly to Pakistan. Mostly, people stuck there are on visit visa or students. “We have kept our patience for the last 10 days. Now our resources are running short. I am stuck here with my family. I have small kids. If government can send a special plane to Thailand to take back stuck Pakistanis then why not to Istanbul?” said a mother among the stranded.

Pakistan embassy in Thailand said government arranged a special plane for the 123 people. In Istanbul they are around 200. A group suggested all those stuck at Istanbul airport if the Pakistan government sends a plane of PIA. All the Pakistani passengers need assistance. “Since March 25 about 40 people living in “Levent Otel gultepe Istanbul” are receiving both lunch and dinner parcels in their room,” it was learnt through a post. There are passengers who have bought tickets at exorbitant rates of different flights and anxious for help from government of Pakistan.