ICRC/MoFA – (Islamabad) Seven Pakistanis who were stranded in Yemen for more than a decade were repatriated and reunited with their families in Pakistan. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) facilitated their return at the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan. The process of bringing them back to Pakistan was initiated by the Embassy of Pakistan in Sanaa. After the closure of the Embassy, owing to the security situation there, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs continued making efforts for their expeditious and safe repatriation, in coordination with the Embassy of Yemen in Islamabad.
"We just cannot find words to express our joy and emotions on this occasion. I feared for his life as we were hearing worrying news coming from Yemen", said Asghar Ali, the brother of one of the repatriated Pakistanis. Similar joyous remarks were uttered by Miran Baloch, after reuniting with his uncle. "I thank God that my uncle is finally back after so many years. This is a time for happiness and not to remember the agony of all those years. I will not let him go away again". With the support from the ICRC, the families were able to travel to Islamabad to welcome their loved ones at the airport. They will also be assisted to travel back to their respective homes in Pakistan.
The seven Pakistani fishermen who crossed international waters were released from Sanaa Central Prison, where the ICRC first visited them in April 2016, as part of its routine detention visits in Yemen. "The ICRC shares this moment of joy with the families who met their loved ones after more than 10 years. We also thank the authorities in Sana'a and the Government of Pakistan for their support in making this reunion possible", said Reto Stocker, head of ICRC delegation in Pakistan.
The ICRC strives to connect people who have lost their contacts to their loved ones during disasters, migration or violence, and where possible help them reunite with their families.
For more information, please contact:
Najum Abbasi, ICRC Pakistan, +92 300 8529108