Saturday Aug 28 2021

Pakistan delays decision to bring Afghan transit passengers to Karachi: sources

  • Transit passengers to be brought to Islamabad only, say sources.
  • Karachi, Lahore airports kept on standby, say sources.
  • Decision to not allow Afghan citizens to land in Karachi, for the time being, has been taken due to security concerns: sources.

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to suspend its decisions to bring Afghan transit passengers to Karachi, sources informed Geo News Saturday.

Passengers evacuated from Afghanistan will be brought only to Islamabad, said sources, adding that Karachi and Lahore airports, for the time being, will be kept on standby.

Afghan transit passengers will be kept in Islamabad for only a few hours, sources said, adding that they will be dispatched to other countries within a few hours of their arrival in the capital city.

Only passengers who need to be accommodated on an emergency basis will be allowed to stay in hotels in Islamabad, said sources.

The Sindh government has been informed of the decision, which as per sources, has been taken due to security reasons.

Pakistan had agreed to welcome almost 4,000 Afghan citizens after the US and NATO requested the country to help with the evacuations, following the Taliban's takeover of Kabul.

The US Embassy had requested Pakistan to grant permission for transiting the passengers. It has been asked to allow transit passengers under three categories to help in the evacuation by August 31.

The categories include US diplomats, citizens, Afghan nationals and people from other countries.

An estimated 3,000 to 4,000 Afghan citizens, who supported the US and allied forces during their war with the Taliban, will be given Pakistan’s visa and brought to Karachi before their departure to the US after a month, The News reported Friday.

The Sindh government had made boarding and lodging arrangements for the Afghan citizens in Karachi.

As many as five flights carrying people from Afghanistan will land in Karachi, sources in the CAA said. The rest of the flights will land in Multan, Faisalabad, Islamabad and Peshawar, while Lahore has declined to provide this facility.

The Karachi commissioner had sent a letter to the Rangers, IG police, secretary of the health department and other agencies that an estimated 2,000 Afghans and diplomats will arrive from Afghanistan in the next couple of days.