7,000 stranded Pakistanis to be brought back home weekly: FM Qureshi

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Pakistan warns that Indian policies putting regional peace at stake

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has increased its capacity to bring back 7,000 stranded Pakistanis from abroad every week, says Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
He addressed the US-based Pakistanis via video link Saturday afternoon and expressed confidence that this figure will go up in the coming weeks.
“We recognise the fact that not just Pakistanis living in Pakistan, but you too are affected,” Qureshi told the overseas Pakistanis. He said it is a compelling situation as compared to the situation of the 2010 floods or 2010 earthquake.
Qureshi said COVID19 changed the situation. “Today, once again, we are in a difficult economic situation. Our exports have plummeted, our remittances will obviously go down when our workforce in Gulf and you [US-based Pakistani] get affected,” he said.
The FM explained that there is an estimate that remittances may go down by 23%. He said the country’s deficit might be back in double digits from 9.5% to 10% of the GDP.
He said this is what is being visiualised, but that the situation is still unfolding and nobody knows what it will be.
We have taken certain steps in the limited fiscal space we had, he said, giving examples of the government’s $8b billion relief package and the Ehsaas cash programme.
He claimed that in the next two weeks, the government will be able to distribute Rs144 billion across the country in a transparent manner and above political likes and dislikes.
He spoke about other government measures to give relief to the economy, particularly the construction, agriculture and IT sectors.
He said the government endeavours to bring back all the registered 60,000 stranded Pakistanis before Eidul Fitr.

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