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June 1, 2020

JI stages rallies to demand safe return of overseas Pakistanis

Peshawar

June 1, 2020

PESHAWAR: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) on Sunday staged demonstrations across the province to press the government to take early steps for bringing back Pakistanis stranded in foreign countries and announce a package for them.

In Peshawar, like other parts of the province, the JI workers gathered outside Peshawar Press club to show solidarity with the affected Pakistani diaspora and urged the government to take immediate steps for overcoming their problems in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic. JI chief Senator Sirajul Haq made a telephonic address to the protesters. Provincial president of JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, who was leading the demonstration, district president Atiqur Rahman and other leaders of the party also addressed the gathering. Speaking on the occasion, Sirajul Haq expressed serious concern over the cold-shoulder response towards the Pakistanis stranded abroad due to the Covid-19 emergency.

He said that the 10 million Pakistani diaspora was serving as the backbone of Pakistani economy. These Pakistanis send foreign exchange worth 12 billion dollars to the country everywhere. They also cater the needs of their large families back home. These Pakistanis also send generous donations to the country whenever an appeal is made to them whether at the time of natural calamities like floods and earthquakes or for other programmes like debt repayment and dam construction, he said.

“But now when they are passing through the testing times due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government has left them in the lurch and no step is being taken to overcome the problems faced by them,” he added. He said that the Pakistanis died in the Gulf countries cannot be brought back to the country. The mortuaries in these countries have been filled with bodies and the dead Pakistanis have been kept in the residential buildings by their fellow Pakistanis. The attitude of the Pakistani embassies towards their countrymen is criminal as no support or guidance is being extended to them, Sirajul Haq said. He also criticised the hike in the prices of air tickets especially by the Pakistan International Airline (PIA). The tickets available at 700 Saudi Riyals are now being sold at 3300 Riyals in black, he claimed. He stressed that the government should announce rebate in air-tickets for the stranded Pakistanis. Proper relief package should be announced for these Pakistanis on their return home, he added. He announced that the JI and Al-Khidmat Foundation would provide free quarantine facilities and arrange food for them on their entry into the country.

Speaking on the occasion, Mushtaq Ahmad Khan criticised the federal minister for aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan’s statement wherein he had been reported as saying that the Pakistanis who cannot afford costly tickets should not come back to the country.

“This is cruel. How can a federal minister give such a silly statement? He should be held accountable for his remarks, which is an insult to whole nation,” he said. He demanded the government to announce a comprehensive package for the stranded Pakistanis and ensure their early return to the country. Stern action should also be taken against the lethargic Pakistani diplomats, who have badly failed in providing any relief to their countrymen, he said. If the government failed to accept their demands, the JI would launch a series of protest demonstrations across the country in support of the Pakistani migrants, he claimed.