ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday said that only 46 Pakistanis remain stuck in China of the 260 Shaheen Air passengers that were reportedly stranded in the Chinese port city of Guangzhou due to the airline’s mismanagement.
FO Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said, “Out of the 46 that remain stranded, visas of only 15 passengers have expired and the Pakistani consulate is making arrangements for that.” He added that “the remaining passengers managed to reach Pakistan by taking other flights”.
Earlier on Thursday, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) granted ‘special permission’ to Shaheen Air International to bring back 300 Pakistanis stranded in Guangzhou.
According to media reports, a CAA spokesperson had said that the airline is in debt of over Rs1.5 billion and is only allowed to operate for Hajj flights.
Moreover, the stranded passengers appealed to the Pakistani government to help them come home.
Most of the passengers hail from Chaman district of Balochistan and have been stranded at the Guangzhou airport after the flight was cancelled on July 29 and the airline was barred from landing any plane at the airport as heavy taxes have been imposed on the airline.
The airline has refunded the tickets to the passengers, however, the passengers complained that all the other flights cost a lot more than the price they have been refunded.
On June 22, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) briefly sealed off the central office of Shaheen Air in Karachi, over non-payment of Rs910 million in Federal Excise Duty (FED).
According to the revenue authority, the office was ordered to be reopened after the private airline provided it with two cheques worth Rs910 million.
Prior to that, the central office of the airline was sealed off after talks between FBR officials and Shaheen Air administration failed.
Earlier in May, the FBR had asked CAA to suspend Shaheen’s local flight operations over failure to pay the FED.