ISLAMABAD Pakistan: The Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi has told the National Assembly that a total of 1,259 Overseas Pakistanis have died due to the COVID-19 pandemic as per the information gathered by Pakistan Mission Abroad.
In a written reply to a question by Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal Pakistan (MMAP), the minister apprised the House on Wednesday that in total, 986 dead bodies of Overseas Pakistanis were transported to Pakistan including 123 COVID-19 affected dead bodies.
Furthermore, 1,134 COVID-19 affected dead bodies were buried locally while two dead bodies are under process of transportation at Jeddah, the minister said.
To a separate question asked by the Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Naveed Aamir Jeeva, the foreign minister told the Lower House that as per estimates, currently there are about 20 to 25 Pakistani Zaireen stranded in Iran.
It is pertinent to mention that majority of Pakistani Zaireen, who were initially stranded in Iran in the wake of COVID-19 in February 2020 due to closure of land border and suspension of flight operations, have returned to Pakistan after the opening of the land border at Taftan and through international flights.
The minister told that the remaining stranded Zaireen (20 to 25) are currently living with their relatives/friends in Holy Cities of Qom and Mashhad as the Holy Shrines in Qom and Mashhad are currently closed due to the second wave of COVID-19 in Iran.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi added that these remaining Zaireen are likely to return to Pakistan by the next flight of Iran Air on July 30, 2020 from Tehran to Karachi.
Some are also, reportedly, planning to return to Pakistan by the Taftan border.
The minister for foreign affairs further told that the Pakistan Embassy in Tehran and the Consulates in Mashhad and Zahidan are in constant touch with the Pakistani community in Iran to ensure their wellbeing and their return to Pakistan, should they desire.