Pakistan 'temporarily' opens Taftan border to allow 250-300 citizens to return from Iran

Updated February 28, 2020

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Assistant Commissioner of Taftan, Najibullah Qambrani confirmed on Friday that the Pak-Iran border at Taftan has been temporarily opened to allow some 250-300 Pakistanis stuck across the border to return home. — DawnNewsTV/File
Assistant Commissioner of Taftan, Najibullah Qambrani confirmed on Friday that the Pak-Iran border at Taftan has been temporarily opened to allow some 250-300 Pakistanis stuck across the border to return home. — DawnNewsTV/File

Assistant Commissioner of Taftan Najibullah Qambrani confirmed on Friday that the Taftan border between Iran and Pakistan has been temporarily opened to allow for one-way traffic into the country.

Around 250-300 Pakistanis stuck in Iran are being allowed to return, he said, adding that those returning include pilgrims among other Pakistani citizens, he said.

He added that the citizens were stuck in Iran and their visas were expiring.

"Those entering Pakistan from Iran are being screened. The pilgrims will definitely be kept under quarantine. They will be allowed to leave after proper screening has been done," Qambrani said.

Meanwhile, Balochistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani said on Twitter that some "350 Pakistanis on the Pak-Iran border have been allowed to enter the country."

The process of crossing the border into Pakistan is ongoing.

Pakistan, on Wednesday, confirmed its first two cases of the new coronavirus. Both the patients had recently come back from Iran.

Iran is struggling to contain the virus' spread as the number of infected persons in the country rose to 388 cases and the number of deaths rose to 38 on Friday — the highest outside China. Those infected include Masoumeh Ebtekar, the vice president for women and family affairs, and the country's deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi.

Earlier this week, Pakistan had temporarily closed all the five entry points — Taftan, Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur and Washuk — at the border with Iran as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19.

After suspending travel through road and rail, Pakistan on Thursday also decided to suspend all flights to and from Iran.

Around 5,000 pilgrims are currently in the neighbouring country.