At least 550 Pakistani pilgrims stranded at Doha Airport after a diplomatic rift between Qatar and six other countries were evacuated and flown to Muscat on Tuesday, Pakistani embassy officials said.
The pilgrims, who were travelling to Saudi Arabia for Umrah via Qatar, were stranded in Doha after several countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Maldives, Yemen and the eastern Libyan government cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.
All the nations announced plans to cut air and sea traffic to Qatar.
According to Sadia Khurram, an official of the Pakistani embassy in Qatar, initial arrangements to transport Pakistanis stranded at Doha airport to Saudi Arabia were made by Qatar Airways, and that Oman Air was used for the operation.
In first phase, 400 Pakistanis were transported to Muscat through a special flight at 7:00am on Tuesday, whereas the remaining 150 passengers were also transported to Muscat via Oman Air at 2:30pm, from where the pilgrims are to be sent to Saudi Arabia.
Saadia said that the Pakistani mission in Doha was in touch with embassies in Oman and Saudi Arabia, whereas Pakistan embassy staff were also present at Muscat International Airport to facilitate passengers upon arrival.
The embassy official advised Pakistani citizens to avoid travelling to Saudi Arabia through Qatar Airways, or on any flights from Qatar, keeping in view the volatile situation between Qatar and the three other Gulf countries.