ISLAMABAD, Karachi - New Delhi gratefully accepted Islamabad's offer of providing a special aircraft to facilitate the return of 11 Indian citizens that had reached Karachi from Yemen on Tuesday, Indian Deputy High Commissioner J. P. Singh told DawnNews.
The senior Indian diplomat in Islamabad said that Indian High Commission had arranged a commercial flight for their citizens. However, Pakistan's offer of a special aircraft was shared with the Indian government in New Delhi, which then took the final decision.
The Indian citizens arrived on Pakistan Naval Ship Aslat along with citizens from various other countries after they were rescued from war-torn Yemen. They expressed their gratitude to Pakistan for the government and navy's efforts for evacuation.
Earlier, Pakistani High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit said, "Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has offered a special aircraft to the Indian High commission in Islamabad to send back the 11 Indian citizens."
"Distinguished officers of the Pakistan authorities including the Navy, distinguished excellencies from representing countries - on behalf of government of India, and High Commission of India - I am grateful for their help and assistance which they provided to our Indian nationals while evacuating their nationals from Yemen," said another Indian diplomat Prabahat K Jain.
"I am really thankful [to them] for keeping the morale high during the journey. All the 11 Indians which have accompanied their Pakistani brothers are hale and hearty," he added.
Kerala-based citizen Ratan told DawnNews he went to Yemen for a project. "When we arrived there the situation was not that good but we were told we can still work," he said. "But after a week, the situation began to deteriorate and we were sent to Al Mukalla."
"When we reached our terminal in Al Mukalla we found out that there is Pakistani Navy vessel rescuing people. We contacted the Indian embassy and they said we can go on that, we embarked the vessel and were treated very kindly and were given priority. All the military people did very good work."
When asked to give a message to Pakistanis, the Indian citizen said "don't bring politics into this, bring brotherhood".
Indian citizen named Paul told DawnNews that he was also in Yemen for work purposes. "I have been in Yemen since a month and went there for work from Dubai," he said. "In that month problems arose in Yemen and we were told we will be evacuated...and only Pakistan Navy's ship was there. Our aim was to escape Yemen somehow."
"The Pakistan Navy brought us here and they did really good work," Paul added.
Another Indian citizen named Ramesh told DawnNews that he works for an oil and gas installation and was stationed in the Masila Oil field which is situated inside the desert. "We were not suffering as much as the people in Mukalla," he said.
"When we ended up at Mukulla, at that time we didn't have a choice and the Pakistani ship was there to help us," said Ramesh. "They really helped us to get out of the place."
"So much logistical work was done to get us on that ship," he added. "Even our company helped us and the crew was excellent. They really took care of us and treated us like guests."
"They sacrificed a lot of hard work to get us here," Ramesh added.
Earlier, a Pakistan Navy ship PNS Aslat, sent to war-stricken Yemen for evacuate stranded people, arrived at Karachi Port today carrying 146 Pakistanis.
According to Mission Commander Commodore Zahid Ilyas, apart from 146 Pakistanis, 36 people of other nationalities such as Indian, Canadian, Chinese, Filipino, Syrian, Indonesian and British were also on board PNS Aslat.
PNS Aslat had reached Mukalla on Friday, but could not evacuate Pakistanis because of deterioration in law and order situation following the jailbreak there in which Al Qaeda reportedly freed 300 inmates. The ship had to be diverted to the nearby Ash Shihr port. 146 Pakistanis were then evacuated on Saturday along with 36 people of different nationalities.