Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday directed the national carrier to ferry back over 300 Pakistanis currently stranded in Malaysia.
According to a statement by the Foreign Office (FO), a special aircraft of PIA will bring home 320 Pakistanis nationals lodged in Malaysian jails “but stuck due to the cancellation of direct flights between the two countries”.
Most of the individuals were imprisoned due to the expiry of visa or residence permits, the pr added.
“There are more than 320 Pakistani nationals in the Malaysian jails who have completed their prison sentence,” the statement said. The prisoners were not repatriated as “direct flights got suspended in the last week of February 2019 owing to the regional situation”.
PM Imran has issued special directives to arrange the return of the detainees to ensure they spend Eidul Fitr with their families.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established a special cell to facilitate the repatriation process. The special cell includes representatives of the PIA, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal.
The flight will land in Islamabad on May 29, FO added.
In a statement, PIA said flight PK 9894 will depart on May 29 at 02:30 am from Islamabad and return from Kuala Lumpur the same day at 9:30 pm.
The regional situation in February 2019
The regional situation escalated when a young man – a native of occupied Kashmir – rammed an explosives-laden car into an Indian paramilitary convoy, killing over 40 personnel in Pulwama district.
Shortly after, India blamed Pakistan for backing the attack and initiated war rhetoric.
On February 26, Indian Air Force (IAF) violated Pakistani airspace near the Line of Control (LoC) and were chased away by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets.
While Pakistan signaled a willingness to open talks with India, it also displayed its military might, with the test of a surface-to-surface ballistic missile with a range of up to 1,500 miles (2,400 km).
PAF fighter jets shot down two Indian warplanes and captured a pilot after they intruded into its airspace while responding to a Pakistani aerial mission on targets inside occupied Kashmir.
In a “goodwill gesture”, Pakistan handed over the captured Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to Indian authorities.
The United States, China, Britain, Russia as well as Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates were engaged with both New Delhi and Islamabad to avoid further escalation.