Islamabad: As promised by the Prime Minister, a new policy has been introduced starting from 20th June 2020. This policy will bring significant enhancement in the capacity to bring back stranded Pakistanis from across the world.
As per the new policy, to ensure the repatriation of Pakistanis in desperate situations, the protocols upon arrival would be as following:
• Passengers will undergo heightened screening upon arrival.
• Asymptomatic passengers will be sent home and tracked and traced by provinces to ensure self-isolation for 14 days.
• Symptomatic passengers will be tested and quarantined until test results, with the option of paid / government quarantine facilities as earlier. Positive cases will be handled as per health protocols, and negative cases will be sent home and tracked and traced by provinces accordingly.
Under this regime, Pakistan would be operating at 25% load of its regular schedules.
Data on positive cases and their sources will be monitored as per current procedures, and further decisions will be taken by the NCOC to facilitate the timely repatriation.
Keeping in mind written requests from all the provinces, and most importantly, the plight of those stranded abroad, the new policy will allow to increase incoming passenger traffic to 40-45,000 per week.
Passengers will be able to book tickets directly through airlines. At the same time, we continue to operate a small number of special flights to countries that still have their airspace closed.
Looking at the previous policy, so far, more than 75,000 Pakistanis have been repatriated since the re-opening of the airspace on the 3rd of April.
The NCOC has been continuously reviewing these processes, and the government in coordination with the provinces has been building capacity to ensure a continuous uptick in the number of Pakistanis repatriated each day.
Through data-backed policy changes and with the input of all key stakeholders, including the provincial governments, capacity was enhanced from 150 passengers per day on 3rd April to 1,900 passengers per day currently.
Approximately 98,000 stranded Pakistanis wish to return and are registered with our embassies abroad. Coupled with over 100,000 students wishing to return as well, the overall challenge of bringing back stranded Pakistanis rests at approximately 200,000 passengers.
It is also essential to note that while originally, all cases were being transmitted from outside Pakistan. Currently, local transmission is responsible for 96% of all cases across the country. 1% is attributed to Zaireen, and only 3% of overall cases are from incoming passenger traffic, all of whom have been tested and quarantined accordingly.
While announcing the policy, Dr. Moeed Yusuf said that the above policy is a vindication of the Prime Minister’s Imran Khan resolve to provide relief to the overseas Pakistanis and to bring them back to their homeland.
Furthermore, he said that it is the right of the Pakistanis to return to their home. We should stop stigmatizing them. He also stated that we are trying to bring all of the stranded Pakistanis within one month. Under the direction of PM Imran Khan, this relief has been provided to the Pakistanis in foreign countries to facilitate their return to their homeland.