• Saturday, June 15, 2024

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Pakistani students evacuated from Kyrgyzstan following violence

The students who landed at Islamabad airport were welcomed by federal minister Musadik Malik. (@Official_PetDiv)

By: Vibhuti Pathak

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took swift action to ensure the return of Pakistani students from Kyrgyzstan following violent attacks on foreign students in Bishkek. A total of 350 Pakistani students have now safely returned, with the final flight arriving late on Sunday (19). Federal minister Musadik Malik and information minister Attaullah Tarar greeted the students upon their arrival in Islamabad and Lahore, respectively.

In a press conference, Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar dismissed rumors about Pakistani student deaths, blaming social media and a specific political party. “No Pakistani student died in Bishkek mob violence,” he stated. Dar reported that 16 foreign students were injured, including “four or five” Pakistanis, and assured that the Kyrgyz authorities had the situation under control.

The government facilitated the students’ return by arranging special flights, with the Civil Aviation Authority setting up an immigration desk and providing transportation. Sharif emphasized the importance of prioritizing the injured and those with families. The President’s house also highlighted the need for immediate protection measures for Pakistani students.

Despite these efforts, reports indicated that students in Bishkek felt abandoned and unsafe. Many described attacks by Kyrgyz locals and students, with some having to lock themselves in hostel rooms to avoid violence. Educationist Sajid Hussain voiced concerns about the government’s handling of the situation, particularly the repatriation costs imposed on students from Balochistan.

In response to these issues, Balochistan’s chief minister Sarfaraz Bugti established a special desk to support affected students and coordinated with the foreign ministry and Kyrgyz embassy to facilitate their return. Ambassador Hassan Zaigham assured that the security situation for Pakistani students was improving and that the embassy remained in close contact with Kyrgyz authorities.

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