Before the September 2014 events in Sana’a, our Embassy had an estimated figure of 3,000 Pakistanis residing across Yemen.
Following the rapid deterioration of the security situation and as a consequence of advisories issued by the Pakistan Embassy to community members, a large number left Yemen. By the Embassy’s reckoning, around 1800 of our expatriates gradually exited the country.
After further deterioration of the security situation in February 2014 and UNSG’s pronouncement that “Yemen is collapsing before our eyes”, the embassy ascertained willingness of community members for emergency evacuation. Only 278 expressed their willingness initially. However, following the March 27 air strikes in Sana’a and other cities, the number jumped to 912.
In keeping with the instructions and guidance of the Prime Minister for immediate evacuation of all stranded Pakistanis in Yemen by all available means, a Crisis Management Cell ( CMC) was set up in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 28th March 2015 to chalk out and implement an emergency evacuation plan for safe return of compatriots. The plan envisaged Air, Naval and Land evacuation through third countries for the entire community in Yemen.
Given the extremely delicate security situation in Sana’a and the partial damage to the airport, Pakistanis living in the capital were brought to Al Hudeida port by road. From there, they were airlifted by a special flight which was operated after obtaining an exemption of No Fly restriction from Riyadh. The Boeing 747 flight brought back 503 compatriots on 29th March, 2015.
While two Pakistan Navy ships had been despatched to the area to assist the evacuation mission on 29th and 30th March and were expected to arrive in 5-6 days in Aden, the eruption of fresh clashes in the city necessitated alternative plan. Chinese support was enlisted since there ships were available close to Aden, undertaking an evacuation operation for their citizens. Subsequently, evacuation of 186 Pakistanis from Aden to Djibouti through a Chinese vessel and from Djibouti to Islamabad by a special PIA flight was undertaken on 2-3 April 2015. A special camp office was set up in Djibouti to facilitate the transit and transfer.
Meanwhile, situation in Mokallah, where we had the third big cluster of Pakistanis in Yemen, and which had been relatively safe earlier, became critical following an Al Qaeda jail break. When PNS “Aslat” arrived in Mokallah on 3rd April, roads leading to the port had been closed. Therefore, through a discreetly planned exercise, the operation was switched to nearby Ash Shihr port and 148 Pakistanis have been safely evacuated, earlier today. 35 other foreign nationals also requiring emergency evacuation are also on board. These include 8 Chinese, 11 Indians and 4 British citizens. The ship will arrive at Karachi on April 7, 2015.
Assistance is also being provided through our embassy in Oman to 12 Pakistanis for evacuation across the land border with Oman.
Two clusters of Pakistani community in Yemen still await evacuation. One cluster comprises of 174 compatriots, who could not or did not want to move to Al Hudeida for the planned airlift on 31st Match, are now stuck in Sana’a. Another cluster of 34 community members are now gathered in Al Hudeida for evacuation.
A special PIA flight has been planned for Sana’a tomorrow to bring back the 174 stranded compatriots. An aircraft is on standby, ground clearances have been obtained, while exemption of “No Fly “restriction is expected shortly.
As for Al Hudeida, a Pakistan Navy vessel will arrive there on 6th April 2015 to evacuate the 34 Pakistanis.
April 4, 2015,
Last modified: November 19, 2019
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