As many as 274 Pakistani students stranded in Chinese city of Wuhan — the epicentre of coronavirus — were repatriated on to the country on Monday.
The returning Pakistani students have been studying in several universities of Wuhan and Hubei and continued staying in China after the coronavirus pandemic.
“PIA’s special flight PIA8872 departed from Tianhe Airport Wuhan today to transport 274 returning Pakistani students from Wuhan and Hubei province to Islamabad,” Embassy in Beijing said in a statement.
The ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, in a tweet, said: “FS Sohail Mahmood & senior MoFA officers extended warm welcome Pakistan students returning home by [Pakistan international Airlines] PIA from Wuhan.”
— Spokesperson 🇵🇰 MoFA (@ForeignOfficePk) May 18, 2020
“Appreciated their courage & perseverance as Wuhan battled COVID[-]19 & congratulated them on successful completion of studies,” it added.
In view of the disruption of commercial night operations, it was PIA’s first special flight from China to transport Pakistani nationals back home.
Last week, the government had announced that special flights for the stranded Pakistanis in Wuhan would begin from May 18.
Earlier on Friday, the government said it had decided to offer discounted tickets to students stranded in China for special repatriation flights starting from May 18.
The gesture is to thank Pakistani students for extending cooperation and showing patience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari, took to Twitter saying that the Pakistani students in China have suffered a lot due to the outbreak. Therefore, the subsidised tickets for Rs50,000 are a gesture to thank them for their cooperation.
“Thankyou to everyone at PIA and foreign office for coming together to make this happen,” Bukhari wrote on Twitter.
As a spcl gesture for 🇵🇰 students in Wuhan for their patience during #Covid as they’ve suffered most, we‘re offering subsidised tickets at Rs.50k for spcl repatriation flt on 18May.
Thankyou to everyone at @Official_PIA & @ForeignOfficePk for coming together to make this happen
— Sayed Z Bukhari (@sayedzbukhari) May 15, 2020
Note that all students upon arriving in Pakistan would be subject to relevant procedures of Government of Pakistan for containing the spread of the disease.