Pakistani nationals stranded in China's Ürümqi get extension in visa

Published February 1, 2020
Scholar Tariq Rauf, who along with other Pakistanis were stuck at the Ürümqi airport, had appealed to the govt to evacuate them. — Screengrab
Scholar Tariq Rauf, who along with other Pakistanis were stuck at the Ürümqi airport, had appealed to the govt to evacuate them. — Screengrab

A group of Pakistani students and community members stranded in the Chinese city of Ürümqi due to suspension of flights in the wake of the new coronavirus outbreak in China have been granted an 11-day visa extension by Chinese authorities, it emerged on Saturday.

All of them have been provided hotel accommodation and food will be made available for them until flights resume between Urumqi and Islamabad, according to official sources in Beijing.

A senior official at the Pakistan Embassy said Chinese authorities in Beijing and Urumqi were fully cooperating and had assured that all of the Pakistani nationals who were stranded in Urumqi were being provided accommodation, food and healthcare.

The embassy officials are also in contact with the Pakistani nationals in Urumqi and as of now, "there is absolutely no problem and difficulty being faced by these people", the official said.

Meanwhile, some students took to social media to appreciate the efforts of the Pakistan Embassy and the Chinese government for providing them support and help.

On Friday, the group of nearly 150 Pakistani nationals stuck at Ürümqi airport in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang for the past four days had appealed to the government in Islamabad to evacuate them back home.

In video messages, the students and traders had said they could neither leave the airport because many of them had reached the expiry of their visas, nor could they fly home due to Pakistan's suspension of its flights to and from China in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

"We request the Pakistani government to evacuate us from here ... this is our constitutional right," Tariq Rauf, a PhD scholar from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Shangla district who was studying in China, had said in his video message.

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