Pakistan Forms a Humanitarian Air Bridge With Afghanistan

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MAZAR-I-SHARIF: At the request of the World Food Programme, a special Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane arrived at Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, carrying essentials, food items, and medicines, as part of a humanitarian mission wherein Pakistan is collaborating with international agencies to develop a “humanitarian air bridge”.

According to reports, the special Boeing 777 PIA plane for flight PK-234 arrived from Dubai at the Mazar-i-Sharif Airport carrying food, medicine, and necessities, with the purpose of assisting the United Nations as much as possible to alleviate the shortages in Afghanistan.

This was the first international commercial flight outside of Kabul since the formation of the new government. The PIA operations team, led by CEO PIA Special Assistant Air Marshall Amir Hayat, left for Mazar-e-Sharif for flight loading and ground arrangements.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, Mansoor Ahmed Khan, stated that the purpose of this mission was to form a humanitarian air bridge in the war-torn nation in collaboration with international agencies. He thanked PIA’s efforts on Twitter.

Arrangements for flight permits and other matters were made by Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Dr. Faisal Sultan also playing a significant role.

According to the WHO regional emergency director, Rick Brennan, at the moment, trauma kits and emergency supplies for hospitals and medicines for treating chronic malnutrition in children are among priority items since a large number of Afghanis depend on aid.

“What remains certain is that humanitarian needs are enormous and growing,” he stated at a UN briefing. “Right now because of security concerns and several other operational considerations, Kabul airport is not going to be an option for the next week at least.” Hence, the focus went to Mazar-i-Sharif, which stands as Afghanistan’s 4th largest city.

“One of the problems we have in Afghanistan right now is that there is no civil aviation authority functioning, but we are working with Pakistan particularly in the context of the Mazar-i-Sharif airport. Because they can work with contacts on the ground so that all the necessary steps to land an aircraft, to land a cargo aircraft, can be put in place,” Brennan had said.

The mission was a success on which CEO PIA Air Marshal Arshad Malik offered his congratulations to the team. A special thanks was given to the Secretary and Foreign Minister on his behalf.

This flight serves as a link in the chain of humanitarian and international assistance issued by Pakistan to support Afghanistan’s peace, health, and security.

CEO PIA stated that the company has always been in the tradition of serving the country in difficult times, participating in national interests and humanitarian sympathy, and will continue to work as a vanguard in times of need.

“Afghanistan is our brotherly neighboring country, the support of the people there is the moral responsibility of the PIA,” he said. “PIA will continue its humanitarian mission on the special instructions of the Government of Pakistan and the Minister of Aviation.”

PIA has received praise from leading international organizations and governments for this mission.

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