CHAGAI: Pakistan authorities on Tuesday allowed 306 Iranian nationals to return to their country after reopening the Pak-Iran border for a short period of four and a half hours in the Taftan area of Chagai district on Tuesday.
On the other hand, more than 250 Pakistani labourers stranded on the Iranian side of the border, have appealed to the Balochistan government to take measures for their immediate return to Pakistan.
Taftan-based Levies Force officials told Dawn that the Iranian nationals, including 276 drivers and over 25 traders, had been stuck up in Taftan after Pakistan closed the border with Iran due to health emergency to prevent spread of coronavirus which had been found in some areas of Iran.
This development came after Balochistan Home and Tribal Affairs Minister Mir Ziaullah Langove along with some other ministers and officials concerned visited the Taftan border.
250 Pakistanis stranded in Iran appeal to government to allow their immediate return to Pakistan
The Pakistani labourers, who have been stuck up in Mirjaveh, the Iranian border crossing, said in a video clip circulated on the social media that they had been stopped by Iranian officials from crossing the border five days ago and since then they had been suffering due to non-availability of accommodation facilities.
In the video, they expressed despair and anger over the decision of the Pakistan government to only allow the Iranian nationals to cross the border into Iran and called upon the opposition member in Balochistan Assembly Sanaullah Baloch to take up the matter with the government to let them come to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, a senior Immigration Officer of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) told Dawn that over 300 Iranian nationals stuck-up in Pakistan had been allowed to cross into Iran through the Taftan border. He, however, made it clear that the border with Iran was completely closed and none of the Pakistani pilgrims present in Mirjaveh had been allowed crossing into Pakistan from the other side of the border since Pakistan had sealed the border with Iran.
Official sources said that pilgrims and other people would not be allowed to cross into Pakistan from Iran unless they spent 14 days in Iran and then come with a health clearance from Iranian authorities.
Balochistan Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langove visited the Pak-Iran border town of Taftan along with Senior Health Secretary Mudassar Ali Malik, Director General of Balochistan Disaster Management Authority Imran Zarkoon, Additional Chief Secretary of Home and Tribal Affairs Hafiz Basit and other senior officials on Tuesday.
Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2020