ISLAMABAD: Following the approval of the prime minister, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday approved immediate release of Rs 400 million to the Pakistani embassy for repatriation of 5,700 Pakistanis from Libya.
The minister gave the approval while chairing a meeting for provision of necessary funds for immediate evacuation of stranded Pakistanis from Libya. The meeting was held at the Finance Ministry.
Dar said that the government was morally bound to take steps for evacuation of the stranded Pakistanis in Libya and all means should be adopted in this regard. He said that the embassy had recommended engaging local airline, which had agreed to evacuate each person for $1,000, adding that under current circumstances it seemed to be the only available option.
During the meeting, Tariq Fatemi, special assistant to the PM on foreign affairs, informed the participants that civil war was going on in Libya and parts of the country were being run by militiamen and warlords. He mentioned that there was a serious situation for the security and safety of Pakistanis and the PM had earlier directed the Foreign Affairs Ministry for ensuring their repatriation. He said that so far 730 Pakistanis had been evacuated by PIA from Libya. He informed that there were 2,500 Pakistanis in the camps set up by the Pakistani Embassy in Tripoli and another 3,200 Pakistanis have been registered with the embassy and await evacuation. The meeting was also informed that the Embassy was providing food essentials to the people in camps.
Muhammad Ali Gardezi, secretary Aviation Division, told the meeting that due to Hajj flights commencing from 28 August, it would not be possible for PIA to spare planes for the evacuation. He also said that it was financially and logistically not possible for PIA to evacuate 5,700 stranded Pakistanis. He said that the cost of PIA came to $1,200 per person.
The meeting was also attended by Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood, Overseas Pakistanis Secretary Raja Hasan Abbas, Advisor to Finance Ministry Rana Assad Amin, Additional Finance Secretary Shahid Mahmood and MD OPF Habibur Rehman Khan.
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