Passengers Returning From Thailand To Pakistan Lament Unprofessionalism & Lack of SOPs
Passengers onboard PK 8893 from Bangkok to Islamabad have complained of gross negligence and unprofessionalism on part of the Pakistani authorities.
Over 250 passengers were brought back on a flight which cost more than 100,000 PKR for a single journey. This price is significantly higher than an average one-way flight from Bangkok to Islamabad but passengers had to pay because there was no other option for repatriation to Islamabad. The flight was also allegedly fully packed with no distance between passengers.
Upon arrival in Islamabad, passengers were not tested for COVID-19 and were shifted to hotels including Hotel One and Ramada. Initially, they were told that they would be tested the next day and would only have to pay a day’s room rent of approximately 3,500 per night and 1,000 per meal. Later on, passengers were informed that they would have to stay in the hotels for a further 6 days and would have to continue paying exorbitant amounts to the hotels. The passengers who protested were sent to Haji Camp.
Actors Shamoon Abbasi and Sanam Saeed who were also a part of the flight took to Twitter to highlight the treatment they received.
In a social media message, actor Shamoon Abbasi wrote, “At the airport we were told that you people will stay for a night and will be tested in the morning and wait for the results that come around 6-8 hours and on being negative from the test u will be able to leave for home. Now the management said we can’t do your test and you have to pay for the stay till a week from now as the govt has implied a week’s lockdown for all those passengers that came from abroad.”
Starlet Sanam Saeed also expressed her displeasure over the treatment meted out to the passengers and offered some advice for the Pakistani government: “Over all – We understand the govt is doing their best to manage the situation. But.. – Stranded travellers need be better informed of what to expect. Embassy must clearly state stay options and costs. People need to be mentally, physically and financially prepared.”
Aizaz Tariq Butt, who has an honorary role at the Federal Chamber of Commerce was also part of the flight. He said, “[T]here should have been a gap of a seat in every row to practice social distancing but it wasn’t followed and the flight was full. Upon landing, no tests were done and we were taken to a bus without social distancing. Many passengers have been ill-treated by hotel staff and have been asked to pay exorbitant amounts. I hope the government can help these passengers.”