UAE businessman pledges Rs10 million for repatriation of stranded Pakistanis 

Suhail Galadari poses for a photograph with the prime minister’s special assistant on overseas Pakistanis, Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari, during a meeting in Dubai on Saturday, July 25, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis)
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Updated 28 July 2020

UAE businessman pledges Rs10 million for repatriation of stranded Pakistanis 

  • Suhail Galadari also announced Galadari Brothers group’s plans to invest in Pakistan’s tourism sector
  • He made the commitment during a meeting with the Pakistani prime minister’s special assistant on overseas Pakistanis 

ISLAMABAD: Emirati businessman Suhail Galadari pledged to donate Rs10 million ($60,000) to help repatriate Pakistani nationals stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) amid coronavirus shutdowns, the prime minister’s special assistant on overseas Pakistanis confirmed to Arab News on Sunday. 
Galadari is a co-chairman of Galadari Brothers, an Emirati conglomerate with a portfolio including stakes in the sectors of construction, hospitality and media. The group owns UAE’s English-language newspaper the Khaleej Times. 

“I have the utmost gratitude for him (Galadari) to donate Rs10 million to help those people that will be repatriated back to Pakistan,” the prime minister’s aide, Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari, told Arab News. 
Galadari made the commitment during a meeting with Bukhari in Dubai on Saturday. He also announced plans to invest in Pakistan’s tourism sector. 
“It’s wonderful news for us that the Galadari family who are pioneers in Dubai and the UAE in five-star hotels are looking to venture into Pakistan,” Bukhari said, “We hope to welcome them with open arms and hope that the Pakistani government and Galadari family can work closely together so that we can use their expertise and investment to promote five-star tourism in Pakistan as it has some of the most beautiful diverse landscapes in the world.” 
Bukhari was on an official visit to the UAE to discuss with Emirati officials the situation of Pakistani workers in the Gulf state’s post-COVID-19 labor market. 
On Thursday, he met with Human Resources and Emiratization Minister Nasser bin Thani Al-Hamli to discuss issues related to Pakistanis residing in the Emirates. 
“We also discussed the availability of jobs for Pakistanis in UAE,” Bukhari said in a press conference after the meeting, adding that since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, around 36,000 Pakistanis in the UAE had been laid off and were returning home. 

PM Khan slams opposition for mass rallies despite COVID-19 surge

Updated 29 November 2020

PM Khan slams opposition for mass rallies despite COVID-19 surge

  • Alliance of main opposition parties is going to hold an antigovernment protest in Multan on Monday despite a ban on political rallies
  • Opposition blames the government for inadequate coronavirus response and downplaying the danger in the beginning of the outbreak 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan accused the opposition on Sunday of disregarding the lives and safety of people by organizing mass antigovernment protests when coronavirus cases are surging across the country.

The prime minister’s comment came as an antigovernment alliance of main opposition parties, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), is going to hold a protest in Multan on Monday, which is expected to draw thousands of followers despite a government ban on political rallies.

“When we did smart lockdown to save our poor from becoming destitute & save economy from total collapse, these “leaders” opposed & demanded complete lockdown. Now, with new spike, when we again need smart lockdown, they want jalsas not caring for the lives & safety of people,” Khan said in a series of tweets.

Pakistan has seen an uptick in coronavirus cases in the past few weeks as it has been hit by a second viral wave. Citing COVID-19 fears, the prime minister announced a ban on political rallies, on Nov. 16.

Defying the ban, the PDM held a mass gathering in Peshawar last week — the fourth since the movement was launched in late September to start a countrywide campaign to remove Khan’s government and hold early elections.

“Problem confronting us in Pak during COVID 19 is of a political leadership that has never gone through any democratic struggle, nor worked with ordinary citizens to understand the problems they confront, nor contributed in any substantive way for betterment of ordinary citizens,” the prime minister said in another Twitter post.

In response to the tweets, Murtaza Wahab, leader of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and spokesman of the government of Sindh province, told Arab News that it was Khan’s government itself that had jeopardized the country’s COVID-19 response.

“If you remember it was IK (Imran Khan) who said covid is nothing and just a flu, you don’t need to worry. Asad Umer said more people die in road accidents,” Wahab said, referring to the country’s finance minister.

“Our struggle against covid has gotten affected by such gimmicks of the federal government.”

According to official data, at least 43 people died and 2,829 more were infected with COVID-19 in Pakistan during the last 24 hours, bringing the total coronavirus tally to over 395,000, with nearly 8,000 related deaths.