Islamabad: On Friday, a special flight operated by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to bring pilgrims to Damascus for Arbaeen departed Karachi for Damascus.

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According to a PIA spokeswoman, Federal Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, PIA CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik, and the Syrian ambassador were all on board Flight PK9501. On the special trip, he said, there were more than 300 passengers.

The PIA aircraft received a water cannon salute upon landing at Damascus Airport, he claimed, adding that PIA would fly 12 flights to Najaf, two to Baghdad, and four to Damascus. Flights will depart directly from Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad until September 24 as part of the special PIA operation.

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Mr Malik said that on major religious occasions, PIA organises special flights to help visitors, and that the national airline has always been at the forefront of transporting pilgrims to holy sites.

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