Saudi Arabia permits PIA to operate 21 additional flights this month

Pakistan policemen stand guard as a Pakistan International Airline (PIA) plane taxis on the runway on the way to Saudi Arabia during the PIA employees strike in Islamabad on February 8, 2016. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 24 September 2020

Saudi Arabia permits PIA to operate 21 additional flights this month

  • PIA overbooked as residents scramble to get back to Saudi Arabia before their resident permits expire on September 30
  • PIA currently operates 23 weekly flights to the kingdom with a capacity to carry 12,000 passengers

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia has permitted Pakistan’s national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines, to operate 21 additional flights this month, PIA said in a statement on Thursday.
On Wednesday, PIA CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik informed Prime Minister Imran Khan that many Pakistanis were scrambling to fly back to the Kingdom as their resident permits, or iqamas, would expire on September 30, but there were not enough flights. 
“PIA is [now] allowed to operate more flights exclusively after using high-level diplomatic contacts,” the statement said. “With the involvement of the Prime Minister, 21 more flights have been added to the PIA flight operations, bringing the capacity to fly 25,500 passengers.”
All Pakistani nationals would be able to return to their homes and workplaces in Saudi Arabia before September 30, the statement said, adding: “PIA has already requested Saudi officials to double its flights for the month of October.”
PIA currently operates 23 weekly flights to Saudi Arabia with a capacity to carry 12,000 passengers.
A day earlier, the prime minister's special assistant on overseas Pakistanis, Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari, had discussed with Saudi Arabia's deputy labor minister, Abdullah bin Nasser Abuthnain, the possibility of increasing the frequency of flights to the kingdom to allow more Pakistanis to return to their workplaces and homes on time.
Saudi Arabia is home to over 3 million Pakistani expats.


Pakistan condemns deadly attack at education center in Kabul

Updated 24 October 2020

Pakistan condemns deadly attack at education center in Kabul

  • Daesh reportedly claim responsibility for attack on educational center in western Kabul
  • Uptick in deadly violence has been observed in Afghanistan despite ongoing intra-Afghan peace talks

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has condemned the suicide attack that killed at least 18 people at an educational center in the Afghan capital on Saturday.

The attack happened late afternoon at the center which offers higher education training in a western district of Kabul. At least 57 people were injured in the attack, the interior ministry said. According to media reports, Daesh claimed responsibility for the assault in a post on Telegram.

"Pakistan condemns in the strongest possible terms the inhuman terrorist attack outside an educational center in Dasht-e-Barchi area of Kabul," Pakistan's Foreign Office said in a statement.

"Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and will continue to support a peaceful and stable Afghanistan."

The suicide attack came hours after a roadside bomb killed nine civilians east of Kabul. Officials blamed the Taliban for the roadside attack.

An uptick in deadly violence has been observed in Afghanistan despite ongoing peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban to yield a lasting peace and end decades of conflict in the war-torn country.

The Taliban have been accused of increasing violence to wield leverage in the negotiations.

On Friday, rights group Amnesty International said at least 50 people had been killed in attacks in the preceding week, accusing the Taliban and Kabul of failing to protect civilians.