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Over 46,500 Pakistanis registered for repatriation, says FM Qureshi

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has confirmed that 46,743 stranded Pakistanis had registered themselves with Pakistan's missions for repatriation to the homeland.

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Briefing a parliamentary functional committee on Covid-19 on measures being taken to facilitate the return of stranded Pakistanis and foreigners, he said 2,054 of them were members of Tableeghi Jamaat, mostly in Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, Uganda and Chad.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser directed the MoFA to facilitate laid-off overseas Pakistanis from the Ramazan package of the government.

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The speaker commended the job done by the sub-committee, led by Shehryar Afridi, and directed the committee to take up the issues faced by the journalist community and get them resolved.

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Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that 5,629 overseas Pakistanis had been repatriated while 428 prisoners had been brought back home from jails abroad

'We need to devise a national strategy to deal with the issue of laid-off Pakistanis abroad. We are repatriating people in a regulated manner. Our foreign missions are being directed to facilitate the return of overseas Pakistanis,' he said.

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He said that during Ramazan, sehri and iftar for stranded Pakistanis would be a major challenge which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) was trying to arrange.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, who chaired the meeting, directed that all stranded members of Tableeghi Jamaat, Zaireen and Overseas Pakistanis who had tested negative or had completed their quarantine period must immediately be repatriated to their homes due to holy month of Ramazan

Convener of the sub-committee of the Functional Committee, Shehryar Afridi, briefed the committee on steps taken to repatriate members of Tableeghi Jamaat, Zaireen and overseas Pakistanis. He said that over 10,000 members of Tableeghi Jamaat and Zaireen had been repatriated domestically while the rest were being facilitated by authorities concerned.

Briefing the committee on the issues faced by the journalist community, Mr Afridi said that a delegation of Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA) had given him a charter of demands and there was a need to provide the working journalists with safety kits. He said the government should take immediate measures to ensure that working journalists were not laid off and salaries of these journalists pending for almost 11 months were paid off to them.

Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that over 7313 overseas Pakistanis had been repatriated through 17 flights.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari said that Pakistan was holding talks with the UAE government and all possible measures were being taken to facilitate stranded Pakistanis.

Posted on April 24, 2020

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