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govt intensifies evacuation endeavors, additional 175 Pakistani students have arrived home from Bishkek

On Sunday, a plane transporting 175 Pakistani students, who were stranded in Bishkek amidst violence targeting foreign nationals, touched down at Lahore airport.

The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of prioritizing the return of injured students to Pakistan.

Information Minister Ataullah Tara welcomed the students at the airport. He informed the media that all necessary arrangements at Lahore and Islamabad airports have been made for the repatriation of students from the Kyrgyz capital.

He assured that the government would oversee the safe repatriation of all stranded Pakistani students and noted ongoing communication with Kyrgyz authorities on this matter.

Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar announced earlier today that up to 540 students, stuck amidst mob violence in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital, are set to return via special flights.

On Saturday night, the first batch of Pakistani students arrived at Lahore airport. Speaking at a press conference in Lahore, Dar mentioned that approximately 130 Pakistani students had returned the previous night, with an additional 540 expected to return today.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif instructed Ambassador Hasan Ali Zaigham in Kyrgyzstan to coordinate all necessary arrangements for the special flights bringing back Pakistani students.

Following a clash with Egyptian nationals on May 13, several international students, including Pakistanis, faced attacks by locals.

Following a brawl between locals and Egyptian nationals, at least five Pakistani students sustained injuries in violent attacks. Reports of Pakistani student fatalities were refuted by Pakistan’s embassy in Bishkek.

During a telephonic conversation with the envoy, PM Shehbaz instructed him to maintain contact with all Pakistani students and their families in Kyrgyzstan. He confirmed that the plane would depart in the evening.

The Prime Minister emphasized the priority repatriation of students injured in the mob attacks and urged arrangements for the return of their family members residing there.

PM Shehbaz underscored that all flight expenses would be covered by the Government of Pakistan.

The ambassador informed PM Shehbaz about a meeting with Kyrgyz Deputy Foreign Minister Imangaziev Almaz, who assured him that the situation was fully under control, with no new incidents of violence reported last night or today.

Almaz affirmed that security had been bolstered, ensuring the safety of Pakistani and other foreign students. He added that even if the situation normalized and any Pakistani student wished to return home, they would be provided with necessary facilities.

Sources indicate that today, three special flights will transport students from Kyrgyzstan, with two additional flights scheduled for today.

Ishaq Dar, Amir Muqam’s visit

Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar and Federal Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan Affairs Amir Muqam’s planned visit to Bishkek was postponed. They were set to depart for the Kyrgyz capital today on a special flight.

Dar stated during a press conference that they had intended to go to Bishkek, but the Kyrgyz Foreign Minister advised against it, assuring them that the situation was under control.

Gandapur offers support for safe return of KP students 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur reached out to the Pakistani ambassador in Kyrgyzstan, offering to cover the expenses of students from the province.

Gandapur assured support and facilities for the safe repatriation of these students, expressing gratitude to the Kyrgyzstan government for safeguarding Pakistani students. He affirmed the KP government’s commitment to funding the students’ safe return, emphasizing that their welfare is a collective responsibility.

Emergency helpline numbers

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs activated its Crisis Management Unit and provided emergency helpline numbers for Pakistani students in Kyrgyz Republic: 051-9203108 and 051-9203094. The CMU can also be reached via email at cmu1@mofa.gov.pk.

The Pakistani embassy in Bishkek offered additional contact numbers for emergencies. Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zehra Baloch confirmed the embassy’s establishment of emergency helplines to assist students and their families.

What happened in Bishkek?

Mohammad Abdullah, a Pakistani medical student in Bishkek, reported that the conflict originated from Egyptian students being harassed by locals. The situation escalated when the Egyptians retaliated, resulting in riots where Kyrgyz students targeted foreign students, including Pakistanis, throughout Bishkek.

Students expressed frustration with the lack of assistance from the Pakistan embassy amidst the unfolding violence in the capital.

According to local media, a brawl between local and foreign students erupted in a hostel on May 13, leading to the detention of three foreigners involved. On May 17, locals protested in Bishkek demanding action against the foreigners, but authorities intervened and detained protesters for violating public order.

Despite negotiations, the riots persisted, with foreign students reportedly trapped in their residences. They also claimed that aggressive Kyrgyz youths were present at Bishkek Manas International Airport, attacking foreign students attempting to leave.

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