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Gulf crisis: 550 Pakistani pilgrims stranded in Qatar flown to Muscat

Islamabad [Pakistan]: 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, said Pakistani embassy officials.

The pilgrims, who were travelling to Saudi Arabia for Umrah via Qatar, were stranded in Doha after several countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt, Maldives, Yemen and the eastern Libyan government and The Maldives cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

Dawn News quoted Sadia Khurram, an official of the Pakistani embassy in Qatar, as saying that that 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.

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.

Meanwhile, as Arab nations distance itself from Qatar, an ally of Iran, Pakistan has said that no immediate plans to cut off its diplomatic ties with the nation.

Pakistan, which has a significant Shia Muslim population, has in recent years been caught between the feud between its Sunni ally, Saudi Arabia, and Shia-majority neighbor Iran. (ANI)