COVID-19: ASAD QAISAR WANTS RETURN OF PAKISTANIS TRAPPED ABROAD TO BE PUT ON FAST TRACK 1097 PAKISTANIS ON RELIGIOUS PILGRIMAGE BROUGHT BACK IN 5 DAYS; SHEHRYAR AFRIDI BRIEFS PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE
Parliamentary Committee on immediate repatriation of Zaireen, Tableeghi Jamaat and Overseas Pakistanis on Friday reviewed the progress made on the subject and directed Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and other concerned officials to take immediate steps to repatriate Pakistani nationals trapped in Afghanistan, Iran and Middle East countries.
The committee met here with Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar in the chair. Chairman of subcommittee Shehryar Khan Afridi gave a detailed briefing on the progress made over the subject. Afridi informed the Speaker that 1097 Tableeghi Jamaat members had been brought back trapped in various countries abroad have been brought back to Pakistan through special flights. He told that 237 Afghan nationals of Tableeghi Jamaat have been sent back after testing negative of COVID-19.
Speaker was also informed that another 243 foreigners have also been flown out of Pakistan after testing negative besides thousands of Tableeghi Jamaat members trapped in various part of Pakistan due to lockdown had been sent back to their respective houses since the committee took over the job. Shehryar Afridi said that 263 Pakistanis had been brought back from Japan and Bangkok to Islamabad and they had been quarantined and their samples sent for Coronavirus test.
He told that 50 Zaireen from Taftan border had been brought to Punjab and later sent to their homes after spending quarantine period. “Moreover, another flight had brought back 250 Pakistanis from United Arab Emirates who had also been sent to their homes after spending quarantine period. A flight from Jeddah had brought back 542 Pakistanis who had been quarantined,” the minister told the committee.
Afridi told the committee that 200 prisoners had arrived from United Arab Emirates at Faislabad and were quarantined. Shehryar Afridi also submitted progress report on return of stranded Pakistanis in Iran, Afghanistan and Gulf states. Speaker National Assembly appreciated the efforts of Shehryar Afridi-led parliamentary committee and the efforts of federal and provincial government officials for making unprecedented efforts to help bring back trapped Pakistanis from abroad. He also praised the officials for facilitating the retrain of trapped Zaireen and Tableeghi Jamaat members to their respective homes.
Asad Qaisar, however, took cognizance of the reports about reluctance of Afghan authorities to immediately repatriate Pakistanis trapped in Afghanistan and directed Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to accelerate the process. He also contacted Special Assistant to PM on National Security Dr Moeed Yousaf and directed to put the process on a fast track so as the trapped Pakistanis could be brought back on emergent basis. Speaker also decided to contact Afghanistan Ambassador to Pakistan and Pakistani envoy in Kabul so as the matter could be taken up at the highest level and impediments in return of Pakistani nationals could be removed.
He also directed to convene a special meeting of the parliamentary committee next week to be attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri, Dr Moeed Yousaf and other stakeholders so as the matter could be resolved.
Speaker also would take up the matter of return of Pakistani labourers from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Iran. NA speaker took notice of poor quality of food and hygiene in quarantine center in Faislabad and directed Chief Minister Punjab to order an immediate probe into the matter.
It was also decided that Speaker would chair a meeting on April 21 to speak to Ulema, scholars and leaders of religious parties to help maintain religious harmony during the holy month of Ramazan.