LAHORE: A total of 179 Pakistanis stranded in India due to the Covid-19 lockdown reached the country via Wagah border crossing on Wednesday.
The Indian Border Security Force (BSF) handed over the Pakistani nationals to officials of the Pakistan Rangers (Punjab).
The India-Pakistan border was sealed due to the lockdown following the coronavirus pandemic.
Officials of the Pakistan High Commission (HC), Punjab Health Department and the Lahore City District Government were present at the Wagah border to receive these Pakistanis.
The Pakistan HC in Delhi took up the matter of repatriation of these people with the Indian government, a senior official told Dawn.
He said that most of the Pakistanis had been stranded in Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Some of these Pakistanis went to India to see their relatives, some of them for medical treatment and some others for attending religious ceremonies.
A family comprising a man, his wife and their daughter who reached India on Feb 26 on a 45-day visit told journalists on return from India that they were stranded because of the lockdown triggered by Covid-19 pandemic.
Another Pakistani national, Mahesh Kumar, from Sindh, who went to India in early March on a pilgrimage, said he got stuck in India due to the lockdown.
Health officials present at the border screened the returning Pakistanis. They were later taken to various quarantine centres for coronavirus tests.
A spokesperson for the health department said that those testing negative would be allowed to go to their homes while others testing positive would be quarantined for 14 days as per standard operating procedure (SOP).
Earlier, a batch of 193 Pakistanis, stranded in India due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, returned to Pakistan via the Wagah border.
Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2020