Repatriation of Pakistanis from UAE ends after 'biggest ever' send-home operation

In this file photo, Pakistani nationals check in at the Dubai International Airport before leaving the Gulf Emirate on a flight back to their country, on May 7, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis. (AFP)
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Updated 28 June 2020

Repatriation of Pakistanis from UAE ends after 'biggest ever' send-home operation

  • Consul general says 30,000 Pakistanis in Dubai and 20,000 in Abu Dhabi were flown home following coronavirus outbreak
  • Says role of the consulate has ended; but will continue helping those in need

DUBAI: Pakistan has completed its ‘biggest ever’ repatriation operation by flying thousands of stranded Pakistanis back home from Dubai and the Northern Emirates over the last four months, Pakistan’s Consul General to Dubai, Ahmed Amjad Ali, said on Saturday.
In March, the consulate had asked all Pakistani nationals who wanted to leave the UAE to formally register with the embassy. Subsequently, according to data available with the consulate, 80,000 Pakistanis had signed up, most of whom had either been laid off or furloughed following the outbreak of coronavirus.
“This was the biggest ever repatriation operation undertaken by Pakistan anywhere overseas and Pakistan was the first country to start sending its nationals home,” Ali said in a presser at the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai.
“All those who had registered with us have flown out,” he said.
Through Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and three FlyDubai special flights, 30,229 Pakistanis stranded in Dubai had been sent back to Pakistan, he added, and another 20,000 Pakistanis had been flown out of Abu Dhabi.
“We have no data for those who traveled by other UAE airlines but I estimate the number to be at 10,000,” he said.
“At this point, the role of the consulate has ended but we will continue helping those in need.”
The consulate also provided accommodation and food to 460 homeless Pakistani nationals, given free tickets home to 561 poor citizens, and transported 208 dead bodies in the same time period, the consul general added.
Ali said the consulate would restart normal consular services from July 1.
The number of Pakistanis wishing to return home has dropped since Dubai began easing lockdown measures and opening up over the past month.
Last month, it was reported hundreds of passengers coming home to Pakistan from around the world were testing positive for coronavirus after landing-- including those from the UAE according to the Prime Minister’s Special Adviser on National Security, Moeed Yusuf.
Speaking to local media, Yusuf said huge numbers of returning passengers from the UAE were infected because returnees were laborers who often live in cramped conditions in the Gulf country.

England confirm Pakistan Test dates

Updated 06 July 2020

England confirm Pakistan Test dates

  • The first match of the Pakistan series will take place at Old Trafford
  • Venues are considered bio-secure, with hotels on site

LONDON: England cricket chiefs on Monday confirmed dates and venues for Pakistan’s three-Test tour, with the series starting at Old Trafford on Aug. 5.

International cricket returns on Wednesday following the coronavirus lockdown when England play the first match of their three-Test series against the West Indies at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, followed by two matches at Old Trafford, in Manchester.

The first match of the Pakistan series will also take place at Old Trafford, with the second two at the Ageas Bowl. The second Test starts on Aug. 13, with the third beginning on Aug. 21.

Both venues are considered bio-secure, with hotels on site.

Old Trafford will also host three Twenty20 international matches between England and Pakistan, on Aug. 28, 30 and Sept. 1.

Ireland will play three one-day internationals at the Ageas Bowl on July 30, Aug. 1 and Aug. 4.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: “Confirmation of these matches against Ireland and Pakistan is another important step for our game as we begin to safely stage international cricket again, but also to minimize the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, on cricket at all levels.

“It has taken significant effort and expertise to allow us to reach a position where cricket is now ready and able to return to the field of play from the elite level to recreational cricket.”

Talks are ongoing over potential dates for Australia’s white-ball tour and England women’s tri-series against India and South Africa.