Over 100 Pakistani nationals headed for Saudi Arabia have been stranded at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and various Nairobi hotels for over 14 days.
This was after Saudi Arabian authorities declined to allow them entry into the country via connecting flights. The planes were directed to Nairobi from Dubai, United Arab Emirates where they had been scheduled to fly to Riyadh from.
Saudi Arabia placed Pakistani on its red list and enforced travel restrictions over the Asian country. Most of the foreigners stranded in Nairobi lamented that they had not heard from the Pakistani High Commission in Kenya.
The passengers, who were travelling with their families, further complained that they were facing financial difficulties.An aerial view Nairobi, Kenya's capital city
They say that they urged travelling agencies and official authorities of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to expedite negotiations and re-evaluate travel restrictions.
On August 24, the Pakistan Embassy in Saudi welcomed the Middle East’s decision to relax travel restrictions on fully vaccinate expatriates. This was a relief for a number of Pakistanis who were facing travel bans.
“The Embassy of Pakistan in Riyadh welcomes the decision of the Govt of the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) to allow direct travel from Pakistan to KSA, for those having valid Saudi residency permits."
“And also those who have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccine inside KSA, before their departure from the Kingdom,” the Pakistan Embassy tweeted.
In late July, the travel ban was among issues extensively discussed between Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, and his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, when the former visited the latter in Pakistan.
The two noted that over 400,000 Pakistani workers heading to Saudi Arabia were stranded outside the Kingdom.
The duo further discussed strengthening their bilateral ties and growing their economies.
“We have worked well together in the past but I think this will be a much more effective tool in exploring all the opportunities that we have,” Saudi’s Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud stated.
“We agree to continue to work on all regional issues whether it’s Jammu and Kashmir, Palestine whether it is the issue of Yemen and coordinate our positions accordingly."
Pakistani’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in the joint conference held by the two, added that they had agreed to review their bilateral relationship.
“At the bilateral front we are very comfortable with the way things are moving and we can only improve on what we have.”Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), NairobiFile
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