Saturday September 25, 2021

Thousands of expats stuck in Covid restrictions

PESHAWAR: Thousands of Pakistanis working in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, who have come to Pakistan several months ago, are

stuck for months due to Covid- related restrictions while a large number of people are going via the Central Asian countries after spending 14-day quarantine there.

They have demanded the government to take up the issue with the UAE and Saudi governments so that they can land there timely and spend 14-day quarantine in those countries instead of anywhere else.

There are hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis who are working in UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Thousands of others also own businesses and properties.

A large number of these people had come to Pakistan many months back for various purposes but now they are stuck due to travel restrictions.

A number of people are facing many problems after their resident visas and other documents expired but they have no option to leave for the UAE. The people coming from Saudi

Arabia also face the same problem after they are stuck for months and find no solution.

“Many are going to Central Asian and other countries to spend 14 days there and then go to the UAE, which costs them eight and 10 times more. Previously, they used to go via Afghanistan,” said one of those stuck for many months. He said the scheduled and chartered flights are packed and people have to wait for a long time to get a seat.

They asked Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to take up with the UAE and Saudi governments to start direct flights while placing conditions on travellers that all those coming to the two countries will spend mandatory 14-day quarantine to curb the virus.

They said it would save jobs and businesses of thousands of Pakistanis as well as save heavy amounts they have to spend in quarantine in other countries.