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OPF striving to facilitate return of stranded expats

Islamabad

May 1, 2020

Islamabad : The Overseas Pakistanis Foundation has announced that it is striving to facilitate the homecoming of the Pakistanis stranded abroad.

According to it, the 24/7 Emergency Relief Cell set up at the OPF head office, Islamabad, is in close contact with stranded Pakistanis has so far forwarded complaints of more than 7,000 overseas Pakistanis to the relevant government departments and Pakistan missions.

“The OPF’s facilitation desks at international airports across the country are providing the maximum possible assistance to the repatriated overseas Pakistanis, even serving them free food where required. The OPF’s free ambulance service available at all international airports is dealing with transportation of dead bodies where required,” an official said.

The official said in the wake of closure of borders and airspace by several countries and the different policies adopted by different governments regarding the expats and foreign nationals from their respective countries, the government of Pakistan was making concerted efforts to coordinate with foreign governments to make repatriation of its citizens possible.

He said in the midst of a pandemic which has caused governments around the world to implement lockdowns and impose strict restrictions on local and international travel, the governments around the world were under pressure to bring home their citizens stranded in foreign countries.

“The situation of stranded Overseas Pakistanis is even worse as most of them are low-paid manual workers who cannot afford to bear their living expenses in foreign countries after losing their jobs as a result of the lockdown,” he said.

According to the official, under the directions of special assistant to the prime minister on overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, the OPF has been providing the maximum support and guidance to the stranded overseas Pakistanis awaiting their return to the country.

“The continued personal interest of the special assistant to the prime minister and weeks of concerted efforts by responsible government departments, have so far culminated into the successful return of more than 11,000 Pakistanis from UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, UK, Canada, Japan, Oman, Indonesia, South Africa, Maldives, Congo, Bahrain, Indian and Afghanistan,” he said.

The official said the issue of stranded Pakistanis was one of the key priorities of the current government and that the decision regarding the repatriation of the remaining stranded Pakistanis was being taken keeping in view the quarantine facilities and testing capacity in Pakistan.