Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday said that around 40,000 Pakistanis were currently stranded in different counties amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has been appealing overseas Pakistanis to donate generously for their homeland. However, many stranded Pakistanis have been showing their resistance over PM’s request. They said they are being abandoned by their own country.
The total number of Pakistanis stranded was 39,748 and a majority of them were in the Middle East. Qureshi said the number of Pakistanis belonging to Tablighi Jamaat who are stranded abroad was 2,248.
More than 25,000 Pakistanis [mostly those] came to the UAE on visit visas or lost jobs due to the economic impact of coronavirus pandemic. They are demanding to go back home. A few days back, hundreds of stranded Pakistanis in Dubai protested outside the Pakistan Consulate. They demanded to be taken back to their home country. The demonstrators were soon dispersed by the cops for breaching the lockdown.
The PTI-led government did try to help stranded Pakistanis by providing them ration. But, many said they don’t want food, they just want to go back home.
Overseas Pakistanis abandoned by the government
Social media is also flooded with posts about how Pakistanis are being abandoned by their own country.
— Itnasarah (@itnasarah) April 8, 2020
Many are also showing resistance over PM Khan’s plea for donation to help fight against COVID-19 in the country.
As An Overseas Pakistani from Dubai. I don't want to help these beggars. Because when they are not helping overseas in UAE who are desperate to go home after they lost the jobs. Why should we support those who are not supporting us
— Asif Ullah (@asif_ullah7) April 13, 2020
No Muhib, This is what we call discrimination on the basis of nationality. There are thousands of Pakistanis stuck in Dubai who dont have place to live. But our government still haven't help them get back home to Pakistan. #PakiStuckInUAE
— Ramsha Khan (@RamshaK60938909) April 13, 2020
Honourable @PresOfPakistan @ArifAlvi We are thankyou to your support and arrangenents for nation. And i also request you to in UAE Dubai there is many Pakistanis around 35000 who wants to back home due to Covid19 please take immediate action we don't have any source to stay here. https://t.co/YrO9F87JCE
— Hasnain Ali (@HasnainAliKhas) April 10, 2020
Plz pray for all Pakistan's who are in the saudia and dubai .. All Pakistani are in so much trouble because of 24/7 hours curfew and have no income plan and locked in rooms plz pakistan govt get all us back to our home lands
Plz share it to all pages to #Pakistan Govt
— عرفان بلوچ (@irfanbalouchkhi) April 10, 2020
Zia Abbasi, who came to Dubai on a business trip, said in an interview. “I never felt so helpless as our government has abandoned us in difficult times. I am grateful to the UAE government for extending our visas without fines. But, at the same time, I am embarrassed at what our government is doing to overseas Pakistanis in the UAE and other Gulf countries”.
Pakistanis left jobless and homeless
Due to the ongoing pandemic, many Pakistanis living abroad have gone jobless. They don’t have an income to support themselves, also few who live in office accommodation are also homeless.
A number of Pakistanis are stranded in Dubai, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and many other countries since all the flights were suspended by the government. They want the government to arrange special flights to evacuate them at the earliest.
However, after facing a lot more outrage, Qureshi clarified that the government had arranged specials flights to bring stranded Pakistanis back home. They were quarantined first and then sent home after tests. He said the government was committed to bringing all stranded Pakistanis back through special flights.
Moreover, he said the next phase of special flights would start from April 14 and 2,000 people would be brought back through nine flights.
PM Khan has also told the authorities to bring back stranded Pakistanis to their homeland.
On the other hand, in a video message, the Premier also said the entire world is struggling against the pandemic, which has led to the lockdown. In the wake of growing economic difficulties, the country needs more money in the relief fund. He urged that the overseas Pakistanis should come forward to contribute in this regard.
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