Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will operate special flights to bring Pakistani passengers back from Doha after Saudi Arabia and four other Arab countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

A number of Pakistani pilgrims were supposed to fly to Saudi Arabia via Doha to perform Umrah, a religious ritual at Mecca.

Airlines from many of the affected countries, including EgyptAir, Etihad Airways and Emirates, said they will cancel flights to and from the Qatari capital Doha.

The five Gulf leaders explained their decision on Monday, accusing Qatar of supporting militant terrorist groups such as Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda, which Qatar denies.

The Qatari government has repeatedly refuted claims from Iraq’s Shia leaders that it provided financial support to IS.

Qatari officials called the actions of the Gulf leaders “unjustified” and with “no basis in fact”.

However US president Donald Trump applauded the decision of the Arab states, tweeting that “all reference” points to Qatar’s funding of radicalism in the Middle East.


What’s happened so far?

Bahrain was the fist Arab region to distance itself from Qatar, followed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Yemen and Libya’s eastern-based government.

Bahrain’s state news agency said it was cutting its ties because Qatar was “shaking the security and stability of Bahrain and meddling in its affairs”.

The Maldives has also severed diplomatic ties with Qatar.

All Qatari visitors and residents have two weeks to leave Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.

The three countries have also banned their citizens from travelling to Qatar.

The UAE and Egypt have given Qatari diplomats just 48 hours to leave.

Qatar’s stock market was down 7.27 percent on Monday.

Two weeks ago, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE blocked Qatari news sites, including Al Jazeera.