Over 8,500 Pakistanis in the UAE want first flight home

Pakistan's consul general to Dubai, Ahmed Amjad Ali (center), poses for a photograph with nationals stranded at Dubai International Airport on March 23, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Pakistan Consulate General in Dubai)
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Updated 05 April 2020

Over 8,500 Pakistanis in the UAE want first flight home

  • Thousands of desperate registrations have poured in to the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai, in only two days time
  • Consulate says priority given to emergency cases, medical cases, repatriation of deceased and people with expiring visas

DUBAI: Over 8,500 Pakistanis in the UAE have registered with the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai to travel back home on priority, Pakistan’s Consul General to the UAE told Arab News on Sunday. 
On April 3, the consulate asked Pakistani citizens stranded in the UAE to fill out a form specifying their reasons for traveling back home on priority. The move came after the UAE suspended all incoming and outgoing flights last month to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Ahmed Amjad Ali, Consul General of Pakistan to the UAE, said thousands of people had registered their interest in only two days time.
“We are likely to get a couple of flights but that too is not confirmed yet,” he said and added that priority was being given to emergency cases, including medical cases, repatriation of dead bodies, people whose visit visas have expired or are close to expiry, as well as those who do not have accommodation in Dubai.
“We have also received interest from people wanting to go on annual leave but that will not be a priority at this point,” he said.
He added people stranded in the country after March 21 and medical cases would remain top of the priority list.
Rana Asif Nadeem who had traveled to the UAE while job hunting said he had registered with the consulate to return to Pakistan as soon as possible. 
“I came to Dubai on a visit but everything is closed now and it appears difficult that I’ll find a job, so I want to go back now,” he said.
A number of citizens took to social media to voice their concerns, with some complaining of being unable to afford housing and essentials. 
“We don’t have money to go back, how will I book the ticket? Even now I have no food and I drive a taxi. Please send me back home,” posted Pakistani Twitter user Waqar Khattak.


Pakistan’s virus deaths cross 2,000 mark

Updated 07 June 2020

Pakistan’s virus deaths cross 2,000 mark

  • Country is also pushing toward 100,000 confirmed infections
  • Medical professionals have pleaded for more controls and greater enforcement of social distancing directives

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan passed another grim milestone as the number of deaths from COVID-19 crossed the 2,000 mark on Sunday.
Pakistan is also pushing toward 100,000 confirmed infections as Prime Minister Imran Khan warned the country’s 220 million people in televised speeches that they are going to have to learn to live with the virus.
He said the country is too poor to go into a full lockdown, which he warned would devastate a failing economy, already dependent on billions of dollars in loans from international lending institutions.
Pakistan’s medical professionals have pleaded for more controls and greater enforcement of social distancing directives. They’re infuriated that Khan’s government bowed to the radical religious right to keep open mosques, which have been one of the leading causes of the spikes in infections.
To try to stem the spread of the virus, the government has ordered markets closed on weekends and inspections have been stepped up in some areas where clusters have emerged, quarantining entire neighborhoods.
Pakistan has some 3,000 ICU beds, and while the demands are increasing, nearly 25% are still available.