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April 1, 2020

Pakistanis stranded in Turkey await rescue

National

April 1, 2020

LAHORE: The number of Pakistanis awaiting evacuation from Istanbul has increased to more than 250 as situation in Turkey has gone from bad to worse.

However, the Pakistan Consulate in Istanbul has data of 198 Pakistanis waiting to reach Pakistan. These are the ones who registered themselves with the consulate. Consul General Bilal Khan Pasha said that the consulate has given list of 198 registered Pakistanis to the PIA which will run two Boeing 777 flights when airspace opens on April 04.

“One PIA flight will come from Canada to Istanbul and take the passengers in the list to Pakistan. The plane cannot accommodate more than 200 passengers. This a broad outline of the plan. We will inform the people as soon as definite plans are announced. It cannot be said at present when the next flight will come to Istanbul to take the rest,” he said.

While the capacity of Boeing 777 is well over 300 passengers, it has been learnt that it will take stranded Pakistanis from Canada and then come to Istanbul.

It’s an evolving situation. When the Pakistan government announced airspace closure on March 21, the consulate had 24 stranded passengers. Some of them from South Africa and England went back. As the situation started worsening in Turkey, students and permanent residents also started sending requests to the consulate for returning home.

“We have three lists; one, purely of stranded passengers who came for tourism, business or visit, then of those in Turkey on short-term permit. There were many whose visa was expiring, we took this up with the Turkish authorities and got them extension. The third group in the list is students,” Bilal Khan Pasha said.

There are well over 100 students. Many of them are running out of resources, anxiously waiting to hear from government of a definite plan to transport them to Pakistan.