FEDERAL Minister Musadik Malik receives students upon their return from Kyrgyzstan at the Islamabad International Airport.—AFP
FEDERAL Minister Musadik Malik receives students upon their return from Kyrgyzstan at the Islamabad International Airport.—AFP

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: As over 500 students came back from Kyrgyzstan via special flights which landed in Lahore and Islamabad, the government assured them that it would facilitate their return to the Central Asian state once the “alarming situation” in its capital stabilises.

After a mob targeted foreign students in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Pakistani students due to fear and panic started their departure from the country. A day earlier, the government had claimed that the situation in Bishkek was under control and there was no need to panic.

As 170 students arrived in Lahore, Information Minister Attaullah Tarar received them at the Allama Iqbal Inter­national Airport and admitted that there was an “alarming situation” in Bishkek during his media talk.

He greeted the arriving students with flowers, assuring them and their families that the PML-N government would ensure the return of all the affected students and take up their education-related matters with the Kyrgyzstan government. “All possible measures will be taken to facilitate the students returning from Bishkek,” he said.

The minister further said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had been in contact with the Pakistani ambassador in Bishkek to address their concerns. “The government is committed to ensuring the safety and education of Pakistani students. It will ensure that they return once the situation stabilises in Bishkek for completion of their degrees,” Mr Tarar said.

Many students on their return had expressed apprehensions that they might not be allowed to return to Bishkek to complete their degrees, fearing that their money and years of study might go to waste. They urged the government to protect their interest.

The Pakistani embassy in Kyrgyzstan has asked students wishing to return to share their contact information. In a post on X, it said that the students’ information would be verified before departure.

Islamabad flights

Meanwhile, two more special flights with 323 students onboard landed at the Islamabad International Airport from Bishkek. Since Sunday, about 463 Pakistani students have arrived by three flights in Islamabad while two more, including one operated by PIA, are expected to arrive in the federal capital in the early hours of Tuesday.

After the first flight on Sunday, the second special plane carrying 144 students landed in Islamabad on Monday morning whereas the third flight with 179 Pakistani students onboard landed at 3:15pm.

A large number of relatives and parents of the students were present at the airport to receive them. At the airport, some families were happy to see their loved ones while others were seen crying out of joy. It was not confirmed how many more students would arrive via the incoming two flights.

On Monday, the Civil Aviation Authority also set up an immigration desk to facilitate the students.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

KP’s ‘power struggle’
21 Jun, 2024

KP’s ‘power struggle’

AN ongoing dispute between Peshawar and Islamabad over loadshedding in KP has flared up once again, with the...
Journalist’s murder
21 Jun, 2024

Journalist’s murder

ANOTHER name has been added to the list of journalists murdered in Pakistan. On Tuesday, Khalil Jibran’s vehicle...
A leaner government?
21 Jun, 2024

A leaner government?

FINANCE Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb has reiterated his government’s ‘commitment’ to shutting down ministries...
Kindness needed
Updated 20 Jun, 2024

Kindness needed

This year’s World Refugee Day theme — solidarity with refugees — includes keeping our borders accessible and addressing the hurdles they face.
Fitch’s budget note
20 Jun, 2024

Fitch’s budget note

PAKISTAN’S ongoing economic crisis is multifaceted. At one end, the government must pursue stabilisation policies...
Cruelty to animals
20 Jun, 2024

Cruelty to animals

TWO recent incidents illustrate the immense cruelty many in this country subject voiceless animals to. In the first...