• Saturday, June 15, 2024

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Pakistani workers’ regularisation discussed by deputy PM Dar in Kyrgyzstan

Deputy PM Ishaq Dar (L) held a very productive meeting with Kyrgyz Deputy Chairman of Cabinet of Ministers Edil Baisalov (R) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (Photo credit: @ForeignOfficePk)

By: Vibhuti Pathak

Ishaq Dar, Pakistan’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, visited Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to address issues faced by Pakistani students and workers following recent violence. Dar’s meetings with Kyrgyz officials included discussions on the regularisation of undocumented Pakistani workers.

In a public statement, the Kyrgyz president condemned the violence against foreign students and workers, highlighting their contribution to the economy. He assured that such incidents would not be tolerated and pledged strict action against any perpetrators.

The visit focused on the status of around 1,100 Pakistani workers in Kyrgyzstan who had overstayed their tourist visas and were working without legal documentation. Dar requested their regularisation, acknowledging the Kyrgyz government’s right to deport these individuals. He thanked the Kyrgyz deputy prime minister for approving this request, thus preventing the hardship of deportation for these workers and their families.

The Pakistani government has successfully repatriated 3,233 students through special and commercial flights, with an additional 513 students set to return on federal government-arranged flights and 290 by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, totaling 4,036 students. The government continues to monitor the situation to ensure the welfare of these students.

Dar announced the formation of an inquiry committee to investigate the recent mob attack on Pakistani students in Kyrgyzstan. This committee will examine how the events

unfolded and assess the response of the Pakistani mission in Kyrgyzstan. The findings are expected within two weeks.

Regarding the future of returning students, Dar noted challenges, particularly with the recognition of their medical degrees by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has formed a committee to find solutions and incentivise students to pursue medical studies in Pakistan, addressing these recognition issues.

For the 1,100 undocumented workers in Kyrgyzstan, Dar plans to discuss their situation with the Interior Minister. Additionally, the committee will coordinate with Kyrgyz universities on the possible relocation of students back to Bishkek. A meeting has been scheduled for Friday to discuss these matters.

On Monday, Dar urged his Kyrgyz counterpart, Jeenbek Kulubaev, to take swift action against the perpetrators of the recent attacks on Pakistani students. Thousands of Pakistani students have fled Kyrgyzstan since the May 18 attacks, with more continuing to return. Over 12,000 Pakistanis were studying in the Kyrgyz capital, as reported by a Kyrgyz official in January.

In the early hours of Wednesday (22), a second plane carrying around 200 Pakistani students from Bishkek arrived at Bacha Khan International Airport in Peshawar, arranged by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. Provincial ministers, the DG of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), and other officials were present to receive the students, along with many parents eagerly awaiting their children’s return. The PDMA also provided transport facilities and began documenting the names of Pakistani students still stranded in Kyrgyzstan.

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