Over 650 Pakistani students repatriated from Kyrgyzstan, says foreign minister - GulfToday

Over 650 Pakistani students repatriated from Kyrgyzstan, says foreign minister


Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi (L) receives Pakistani students at Allama Iqbal Airport in Lahore late on Saturday. X photo

More than 650 Pakistani students were being repatriated from Kyrgyzstan, Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar said on Sunday, after clashes broke out between locals and foreigners near student accommodation in the capital Bishkek.

Four Pakistani students were injured overnight on Friday when brawls erupted involving hundreds of students from different countries. Students were ordered by authorities to stay indoors, students in the city told Pakistani media.

"Three special, commercial flights have been arranged," Dar told a press conference in Islamabad. "This was an attack on foreign students — not just Pakistani students. There were also Indian, Bangladeshi and Arab students." Around 130 students arrived in Pakistan on Saturday, with 540 more due to arrive on Sunday.

"Although the government of Kyrgyzstan has asked us not to operate flights for the return of Pakistani students, saying it will ensure the safety of these students, still arrangements are being made for three more flights to bring them back from the Central Asian country, while the Pakistan Air Force will operate an airbus to Bishkek for the purpose,” the foreign minister said.

Dar said that the incidents of violence took place in Kyrgyzstan because of a misunderstanding.

Speaking on the occasion, Information Minister Ataullah Tarar said that the situation had returned to normalcy in the Central Asian state. He condemned what he called “political point scoring” by a political party over the incident.

"In Bishkek attacks, the party found an excuse to unleash propaganda against the government,” he lamented, adding, "A picture of a Bangladeshi student, posted on social media, was shown to be that of a Pakistani student.”

At Lahore Airport, Shahzaib, a student returning from Bishkek, explained that the brawl started when some students beat up the local boys.

Videos were made during the fight, and the they uploaded these videos on social media. After the videos went viral, riots began.

Shahzaib said that local transporters were also assaulting foreign students while the university administrations were lying about the situation.

Moreover, since last night, students have been attacked in their residential flats, with locals searching for and beating them. Locals surround the flats all night, attacking people.

The student stated that no place is safe; students are being hunted down and beaten even on the streets. The local police are not co-operating, arriving at the scene 2 to 3 hours after the incidents.

He further mentioned that they returned to Pakistan on their own initiative.

The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has expressed deep regret over the recent violence against Pakistani students in Kyrgyzstan and called on the Pakistani government to immediately engage with Kyrgyzstan authorities.

Prof Dr Ashraf Nizami, President of PMA Lahore, emphasised urgent measures to protect Pakistani students, and proposed dispatching a high-level delegation, including representatives from the PMA and the Association of Pakistani Graduates from Russia and CIS countries to Kyrgyzstan.

He conveyed these sentiments during an emergency meeting of PMA Lahore, which was attended by office bearers of the association, including Prof Dr Shahid Malik, Dr Khalid Mahmood Khan, Dr Iram Shehzadi, Dr Wajid Ali, Dr Bushra Haq, Dr Riaz Zulqarnain Aslam, Dr Muhammad Sadiq and Dr Nader Khan.

The assembly underscored the urgency of safeguarding the over 10,000 Pakistani students currently studying in Kyrgyzstan.

"The PMA strongly condemns the attacks on Pakistani students in Kyrgyzstan.  The government of Pakistan must ensure their immediate safety and take swift action to protect them," stated Nizami.

The government summoned the Kyrgyzstan charge d'affaires to the foreign office on Saturday to provide details on the clashes.

The "disturbances" followed an incident earlier in the week when foreign students reported being harassed in their dormitories by "unidentified persons," the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Kyrgyzstan said in a statement published online.

Local media said more than 11,000 Pakistanis are studying across Kyrgyzstan, which is particularly popular with medical students.




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