May 2, 2020, 2:04 PM
Journalist ID: 2053
News Code: 83772557
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Coronavirus leaves thousands of Pakistanis jobless in ME

Islamabad, May 2, IRNA -- Thousands of Pakistanis working in the Middle East have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 outbreak causing a huge blow to the country’s foreign remittances.

There are nearly five million Pakistani expatriates in Middle Eastern countries whose remittances contribute a lot towards the economy of the country.

The ME countries are hit hard by the COVID-19, as oil prices plummeted to a record low.

Speaking at a weekly briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said at least 13,000 Pakistanis lost their jobs in the UAE since the outbreak of COVID-19.

However, she added that the more than 50,000 expatriates seek to return to the country. “As per data available with the Foreign Office, more than 50,000 Pakistani citizens are expected to return in the near future from the Middle East,” she said.

Foreign remittances are critical for Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves as millions of Pakistanis, mostly those in the Persian Gulf send around $24 billion annually.

The Covid-19 outbreak will likely see a decline in remittances, making it difficult for the government to manage the fiscal affairs.

On Friday as many as 500 stranded Pakistanis were repatriated from Saudi Arabia who was stuck up there after the suspension of flight operations following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, 163 Pakistanis lost their lives in different countries due to coronavirus. Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui added that the Foreign Ministry was making all-out efforts to facilitate the Pakistanis, stranded in different countries because of the outbreak of pandemic.

Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier had said that the situation in Pakistan is better as compared to the coronavirus situation in the world.


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