DUBAI: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on overseas Pakistanis Sayed Zulfiqar ‘Zulfi’ Bukhari said Friday at least 1,276 helpless Pakistanis stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were given free tickets by the government amid the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On his two-day visit, Bukhari also met Pakistanis living in the UAE and expressed his gratitude to the Pakistani community for their timely assistance to their helpless fellows stranded abroad.
“Coronavirus caused severe hardship to Pakistanis [living and working] abroad,” he said, adding that some 75,000 Pakistanis had returned home from the UAE due to the coronavirus crisis.
At least 154 special flights were operated by the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for the return of people stranded in the UAE, the special assistant said. “The government provided free tickets to 1,276 helpless people,” he added.
“Rations were distributed to more than 19,000 Pakistanis in the UAE,” he said further.
Bukhari had on Wednesday left for the UAE to address and resolve the issue of Pakistani expatriates stranded in a foreign country due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A statement issued by the OP&HRD ministry had stated that the special assistant would also meet the UAE Labour Minister for the redressal of the issues being faced by the Pakistani workers in the wake of the pandemic.
“This is the first interaction of UAE labour ministry with a representative of any country with such a large diaspora to address workforce issues and post-COVID reintegration plan,” the official news release had read.
The premier’s aide was also scheduled to hold an interaction with the Dubai-based Pakistani donors who had carried out philanthropic activities and made huge contributions. “This is the first visit after reopening of airspace to address overseas Pakistanis’ issues since the onset of coronavirus pandemic,” the ministry had noted.