Flydubai repatriates 400 Pakistanis on two special flights

They will carry UAE embassy staff on the return flight

Aircraft on the ground surrounded by ground equipment and staff.

Aircraft on the ground surrounded by ground equipment and staff.

Flydubai/Handout via Thomson Reuters Zawya

Two flydubai planes on Tuesday repatriated 400 Pakistani prisoners following the understanding reached between the UAE and Pakistan governments to operate special flights.

These were the first flights of the UAE carriers to Pakistan after the suspension of international flights last month in order to contain the spread of coronavirus.

A statement issued by the Pakistan embassy in the UAE said these prisoners were serving their terms in UAE jails for minor offences.

Arranged by the UAE government, the flydubai flights took the prisoners to Faisalabad International Airport and Bacha Khan International Airport, Peshawar.

Islamabad thanked the UAE government for its kind gesture during these challenging times.

"Pakistan's embassy and consulate worked in close coordination with the UAE authorities for early repatriation to Pakistan," said the statement.

A notification issued by the Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority said that it had received and approved flydubai's request to operate the flight between Dubai to Faisalabad on April 14 to transport 180 Pakistani nationals and carry 11 UAE embassy staff back to Dubai on return.

A flydubai spokesperson said the budget carrier is "fully supporting governments and authorities across the flydubai network with their repatriation efforts helping them to make arrangements for their citizens to return home".

As part of safety measures, Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority said flight crew would not be allowed to disembark upon arrival at the airport.

Earlier, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan instructed relevant authorities to repatriate over 40,000 Pakistanis stranded abroad. Currently, over 25,000 Pakistanis are stranded in UAE alone due to visa expiry and job losses.

Around 1,800 Pakistanis are stranded in different countries will be repatriated over the next five days.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan's minister for foreign affairs, said the total number of stranded Pakistanis wer 39,748 - mostly in the Middle Eastern countries.

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