6,000 Pakistanis to be brought back this week by 17 PIA flights

|Moeed Yusuf says private airlines too will be allowed to bring back stranded Pakistanis |Government increasing testing capacity to move towards smart lockdown

By: News Desk      Published: 09:42 PM, 19 Apr, 2020
6,000 Pakistanis to be brought back this week by 17 PIA flights
Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf.–File photo

As the federal government is planning to bring back 6,000 Pakistanis stranded in different countries in the week starting April 20, it is all set to give permission to private airlines to operate flights to some of these countries.

Most of the aforementioned Pakistanis will be brought back home by 17 flights of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf has said the government will allow private airlines to operate flights to the countries where the national flag carrier, PIA, does not. "We will initially give permission for two flights and then increase the number of flights gradually," he said.

The adviser said the government is working on repatriating Pakistanis from Turkey and Qatar and would "bring back all Pakistanis soon".

Also see: PIA special flights to bring back Pakistanis from Germany, Australia, South Korea

Earlier, Yusuf told a press conference in Islamabad that the Torkham border was opened on Saturday and some 1,000 people would be allowed to return to Pakistan every day.

In a related development, Yusuf said the government is increasing its testing capacity, which will help it identify coronavirus hotspots in the country. "The government will then only close off those areas, allowing it to enforce a smart lockdown," he said.