The crisis in Yemen ended up bringing India and Pakistan together in a rare display of goodwill and mutual cooperation. Eleven Indians evacuated from Yemen by Pakistan reached India on Wednesday night in a special aircraft of the Pakistani Air Force.
The evacuees were received at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here by Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit.
They had reached Karachi on Tuesday, where, along with other evacuees, they were thrown a grand reception party at Kiamari.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz had offered a special plane to bring them to India.
“Prime Minister Sharif had directed that the special Indian guests should be flown to Delhi in a special plane...it shows how strongly the PM feels about Indians,” Mr. Basit told mediapersons at the airport.
When asked how the visa arrangements of the Indians were made, in order for them to enter Pakistan, Mr. Basit said during humanitarian efforts “these things become peripheral”.
“We were really concerned about our guests and we are glad they have reached home safe...I hope these gestures can be taken forward to strengthen our mutual ties,” he said.
Modi thanks Sharif
Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked Pakistan for the special gesture. “I welcome our 11 citizens who’ve returned from Yemen with assistance from Pakistan. Thank you PM Nawaz Sharif for your humanitarian gesture” he tweeted.
Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar termed it “a very generous gesture”, adding that “in adversity everyone’s best side has come forward”.
The 11 Indians were among 182 people, including 36 foreigners, evacuated by a Pakistani Naval ship Aslat from Al Mukalla port to Karachi.
India too had evacuated some Pakistani nationals, among others, from the port city.
“India also evacuated people of several nationalities, including Pakistanis. We are grateful for that,” said Mr. Basit.
Sigh of relief
The evacuees themselves breathed a sigh of relief and joy on reaching home safe. “The reception we got in Pakistan was amazing... we really did get a feeling of mutual brotherhood,” Murali, one of the 11 Indians, said. “Now we are looking forward to go home to Tamil Nadu,” he said.
Service to humanity knows no borders. Glad we helped many countries in evacuation from Yemen.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) >April 8, 2015