KARACHI, Mar 29 (INP): A special Boeing-747 jumbo jet of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) landed at Quaid-e-Azam International airport Karachi on Sunday night with 500 trapped Pakistani citizens, after it was given clearance to depart for Yemen. The countrymen who returned back were extended warm welcome upon their arrival. Moving scenes were witnessed outside Karachi Airport. Strict security measures were made on the occasion to avoid any untoward occurrence. Earlier, a convoy of 600 Pakistanis reached Al-Hudaydah after escaping from the embattled Yemeni capital Sanaa to leave for Pakistan.
The convoy was inspected heavily by the Yemeni armed forces and the Houthi militia before it was permitted to exit Sanaa. Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the flight operations will be continued until all Pakistanis are evacuated from Yemen. A frigate belonging to Pakistan Navy had also left for the Gulf of Aden on the coast of Yemen Sunday from a seaport in Karachi to rescue the stranded Pakistanis from the war-torn country. The fully-equipped ship will provide its services to aid the evacuation process. Pakistan’s Ambassador to Yemen Dr Irfan Shami has said around 1000 Pakistanis will be evacuated and sent to Pakistan in a span of two days.
Women and children will be transported first, the ambassador has said. According to spokesman CAA, another PIA airplane, Airbus-310 will also be used in the evacuation operation. Former ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman, however, was critical of the government’s handling of the evacuation of Pakistanis in Yemen. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday had ordered the Pakistani mission in Yemen to take steps for the immediate evacuation of stranded Pakistani families in the troubled country. Upon directions of the prime minister, a comprehensive plan was devised for the evacuation of the stranded Pakistanis. A Crisis Management Cell has been established at the Foreign Office to coordinate the arrangements for evacuation. Defence Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif spoke to his Saudi counterpart on Saturday night during which he was given assurance that all facilities would be provided to Pakistanis for their return home.