PESHAWAR: A total of 461 students arrived from Bishkek in two different flights that landed at Bacha Khan International Airport here on Wednesday, officials said.

They said that the first ER-1786 special flight of Serene Air, which was sent by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, landed at the airport around 1:52am on Wednesday with 288 students on board.

Officials said that the second flight, PK-6265, carrying 173 students from Bishkek landed at the facility at 11:20am. They added that the students were welcomed by the provincial government.

A statement later issued by Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said that Chief Minister Ali Amin Khan Gandapur, provincial ministers, government officials and director general of PDMA were present at the airport to receive the students. It added that parents of the students were also present at the airport.

“PDMA provided transportation facility to students. The students, who are still stranded in Kyrgyzstan, are still being listed,” it said.

Another statement issued from the chief minister’s secretariat said that the students, belonging to other parts of the country, were residing at Chief Minister’s House. It added that they would be departing for their respective areas today (Thursday) and government would pay their transportation charges.

Meanwhile, the provincial government accused the federal government of refusing to allow a special flight to bring the students stranded in Bishkek.

“We have made all the necessary arrangements to bring the students back but the federal government, to be more precise, Federal Minister for Defence Khwaja Muhammad Asif has been hurdling the operation,” KP government’s spokesperson Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif told Dawn.

He said that the first special flight was scheduled to leave from Allama Iqbal International Airport for Bishkek at 2pm on Wednesday that was refused permission to depart and bring back the students.

“This plane was scheduled to depart at 2pm but it never got the permission. Now they say it will depart at 5am on Thursday morning,” said Mr Saif. He added that provincial government provided all the required documents but federal government was obstructing the operation for evacuation of stranded students in Bishkek.

He said that those elected on Form-47 were politicising every issue. He said that relatives of students in Bishkek were worried for them.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2024

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