KHYBER: The health authorities in collaboration with the administration of Khyber tribal district on Friday established four quarantine centres for Afghan students, who were granted permission to continue studies in Pakistani educational institutions.

Additional assistant commissioner Ashrafuddin, who is the focal person for the facilitation of Afghan students at quarantine centres, told Dawn that every centre could accommodate 80 students, who would be kept there for the minimum 10 days.

They’ll be kept there for at least 10 days

He said the first batch of 350 Afghan students would reach the Torkham border today (Saturday) and they would be sent to three quarantine centres established in Landi Kotal and one set up in Bara.

The official said though he didn’t know the exact number of the Afghan students, who included women as well, they would total 1,500-1,700 as disclosed by the Pakistani Foreign Office.

“The process of Afghan students coming to Pakistan will certainly take some time as every batch has to complete the mandatory minimum 10 days in quarantine centres,” he said.

Mr Ashrafuddin added that the female students would be sent to Peshawar or other cities for mandatory quarantine.

He said the Afghan embassy in Islamabad and Afghan authorities in Kabul were formally informed about the entire process from the students’ arrival to their quarantine period to their journey to the cities, where they’re enrolled for different courses.

The Pakistani government had banned the entry of Afghan nationals to the country via Torkham and Chaman borders on May 8 in order to check the transmission of novel coronavirus from Afghanistan.

However, it later granted conditional permission to the ailing Afghans to come to Pakistan for treatment only after the production of valid medical records on the border to a team of doctors and also only that the specialised treatment was not available inside Afghanistan.

The Afghan students had long been seeking permission to come to Pakistan to continue their studies in various educational institutions of Pakistan.

Officials said the Provincial Disaster Management Authority and Khyber district administration would jointly shoulder the responsibility of providing free breakfast and two-time meals to the Afghan students, while the required medication would be provided by the local health authorities.

They said the provision of clean drinking water and sanitation services to the Afghan students would be ensured by the tehsil municipal authorities and the local police would provide them with foolproof security.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2021

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