ISLAMABAD       -            Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Saturday said that having enhanced its capacity to repatriate up to 7,000 stranded Pakistanis per week the government was striving to ensure the return of maximum number of people before Eid-ul-Fitr.

Addressing the Pakistani community in the United States though video link, the foreign minister said besides PIA, the government had also approached Qatar Airline for repatriation of the Pakistanis desiring to return to their homeland.  The session was also attended by Secretary Foreign Affairs Sohail Mahmood and Pakistan’s Ambassador in US Asad Majeed and embassy officers through video link besides a huge number of Pakistani expatriates.

He said among the challenges faced by Pakistan in the prevailing situation, was also the repatriation of stranded Pakistanis. Though around 10,000 had already been brought back, thousands more were yet in the waiting.

He said owing to the limited capacity for quarantine and testing, the government could repatriate only 2,000 stranded Pakistanis per week. He said in order to apprise the expatriates about the government’s efforts to contain coronavirus, a series of town hall virtual meetings had been initiated by the foreign ministry.

He said the country’s economy was under pressure but the government was struggling to stabilize it with the cooperation from the world community. Even, a huge number of Pakistani workers were feared to lose their jobs due to collapse of oil prices following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. The foreign minister highlighted the government’s relief measures for the poor people particularly Rs 144 billion emergency cash package to support 12 million families.

He thanked the Pakistani community for supporting their homeland in any distressing moment and urged the members to extend all out assistance to the Pakistani students and other community members residing in the US.  Qureshi also recognised that the Pakistani community abroad has always played a very vibrant role and demonstrated large heartedness.

“The entire Pakistani nation is grateful to the contributions made by the Pakistani American during difficult times,” he said.