Hundreds of Pakistanis in UAE get relief packets amid virus lockdown

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Updated 02 April 2020

Hundreds of Pakistanis in UAE get relief packets amid virus lockdown

  • More than 1,700 ration bags have been distributed since the community-driven initiative began about a week ago
  • The program has been supported and facilitated by the Pakistani consulate in Dubai

DUBAI: Pakistani community members, who are facing financial hardships due to the ongoing lockdown in the United Arab Emirates, have been regularly receiving ration bags from the Pakistani consulate for nearly a week now.
A community-driven initiative that is supported by the country’s diplomatic mission, the bags are filled with essential food items, such as rice, milk, flour, biscuits and oil, which are separately packed for families and individuals who are either stuck in the gulf state due to flight closures or facing financial crunch after being laid off.
“More than 1,700 packets have been given to people since we started this welfare service five days ago,” Ahmed Amjad Ali, Pakistan’s Consul General to the UAE, told Arab News on Wednesday.
“In the beginning, we received contributions from three or four philanthropists, but now nearly 50 community members are donating the foodstuff,” he said. “We are also contributing from our end, though we are not accepting any cash.”
The family packs weigh around 20 kilograms and the ration is enough to last for 10 to 15 days.
“We have so much stock available now that we can help people for another two weeks,” he added.
The family ration packs have also been distributed in the Northern Emirates, including Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman and Fujairah.
“Since the situation is troubling and people are in need, we are trying to help as much as possible,” he said.

For families that cannot come to the consulate, the packets have also been distributed among those in Sharjah and Ajman.
“We follow our criteria to see if families are indeed needy or not,” said Ali. “We ask them to show us a proof of their passport. Other than that, people who have letters showing that they have been recently laid off are also given preference.”
The consulate staff has undertaken the responsibility of packing foodstuff with different teams.
“This is really a state of emergency, I would say, and people are helping and coming to us because they trust that the consulate is giving to the needy. Everything is going very smoothly and we hope to do more home deliveries over the weekend,” he said.
Every day the consulate teams go to different cities, a process that the diplomatic mission hopes to continue until the difficult situation lasts.
“We are also trying arrange special flights for the stranded people who want to go back to Pakistan. We have also approached the UAE government to look into the exemption of fines for visit visa holders,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Association in Dubai has called for volunteers to assist the authorities in the gulf state in their ongoing battle against the coronavirus.
“We already have doctors and nurses working at isolation and quarantine facilities, but we need general volunteers to help the Dubai Police with the distribution of food and ration and help with the general work in the quarantine areas,” the association’s president, Dr Feisal Ikram, told Arab News.

Pakistan says Israel-UAE agreement will have 'far-reaching implications'

Updated 43 min 41 sec ago

Pakistan says Israel-UAE agreement will have 'far-reaching implications'

  • The country’s foreign office noted that peace in the Middle East was Islamabad’s key priority
  • Pakistan 'has an abiding commitment to the full realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people' – FO

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday described the normalization process between the United Arab Emirates and Israel as a development with significant consequences for the region. 

“We have noted the Joint Statement announcing agreement of UAE and Israel to have full normalization of relations,” the new foreign office spokesman, Zahid Hafeez, said in a statement while responding to an Arab News query. “This is a development with far-reaching implications.” 

The UAE and Israel announced their decision to normalize diplomatic ties and build a more functional relationship on Thursday. The peace deal was facilitated by United States President Donald Trump who described it as a “huge breakthrough” and a “historical peace agreement.” 

Responding to the development, Pakistan said it had an abiding commitment to the full realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination. 

“Peace and stability in the Middle East region are also Pakistan’s key priority,” the statement said, adding that for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, Pakistan had consistently advocated a two-state solution in accordance with the relevant United Nations and Organization of Islamic Cooperation resolutions. 

While the deal was made after Israel decided to suspend its planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, it surprised Palestinian leaders and prompted President Mahmoud Abbas to demand an urgent Arab League meeting. 

Reading a statement outside the presidential office in Ramallah, Abbas’s senior adviser Nabil Abu Rudeinah said: “The Palestinian leadership rejects and denounces the surprising UAE-Israeli-US trilateral announcement.” 

He also termed the development as a “betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and the Palestinian cause.” 

Meanwhile, Pakistan, which has been striving to protect the rights of Kashmiris in the region, said its approach would be guided by its “evaluation of how Palestinians’ rights and aspirations are upheld and how regional peace, security and stability are preserved” by the deal.