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Sunday, June 23, 2024  
16 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Embassy says no Pakistani student died in Kyrgyzstan violence

Clashes erupt between local and international students; Ambassador advises Pakistani students to stay indoors as hostels attacked
This photo shared by APP shows a mob on the street of Bishkek.
This photo shared by APP shows a mob on the street of Bishkek.
A screen grab from videos of clashes
A screen grab from videos of clashes

Violent clashes have erupted between student groups in the capital city of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, with reports of attackers using batons. The conflict has impacted Pakistani students.

According to the Advisor for Information in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, three Pakistani students have been killed in the incidents. However, hours later Pakistani embassy issued a statement saying that the Kyrgyz government had confirmed no Pakistani student died in the violence.

The foreign ministry in Islamabad summoned the charge d’affaires of Kyrgyzstan and lodged its protest.

Aaj News could not independently verify the reports about deaths, but in social media videos Pakistani students said attacks had occurred on Pakistani student hostels, leading to multiple injuries.

In a viral social media video, three students appear and one of them introducing himself as Mohammad Walid says that after a fight between locals and Egyptian students mobs attacked international students.

Walid said six students had been killed, though he did not specify there nationalities.

He said police were not helping international students. There are reports that the fight between Egyptian students and locals occurred on May 13, but things escalated after a video went viral, leading to mobs taking to streets on May 17 and attacking the hostels of foreign students.

Most of Pakistani students including Walid are studying medicine in Kyrgyzstan.

“Pakistani female students are being harassed. Violence has occurred in the hostels, targeting both male and female students. Kyrgyz students are attacking foreign students across Bishkek,” said one Pakistani student.

Barrister Saif, the Advisor for Information in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said that there are reports of three Pakistani students being killed in the attacks.

According to Saif there are 10,000 Pakistanis studying in Kyrgyzstan. He urged the government to protect them.

In a statement posted to social media platform X, the Pakistani embassy said, “The Kyrgyz government has confirmed that no Pakistani student died in the recent mob violence against international students. Moreover, Kygyz Ministry of Internal Affairs has also issued press releases stating that the situation is under control,” the Pakistan Embassy said in a statement.“

Videos of clashes went viral on social media.

The Pakistani Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan has issued advisory instructions for Pakistani students, asking them to remain indoors until the situation normalizes and to stay in contact with local law enforcement authorities.

“We are taking measures to ensure the safety of the students,” the Pakistani Ambassador stated.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif spoke with the ambassador and told him to visit Pakistani students and offer them support and assistance.

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, confirmed that the embassy is in contact with Kyrgyz authorities. “The protection of Pakistanis is of utmost importance,” the spokesperson said.

She later announced that a help desk had been set up to facilitate Pakistani students and their parents.

The spokesperson also shared the following phone numbers for parents seeking information:

  • 0519203108

  • 0519203094

The Crisis Management Unit’s (CMU) email address was also provided. [email protected].

The spokesperson requested that only relevant people should call the number and it should not be spammed.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Hasan Zaigham said that his office was liaising with local authorities to ensure students’ safety and posted numbers for an emergency helpline.

The numbers shared are:

  • +996555554476

  • +996507567667

  • +996 507567667

A Kyrgyz media outlet has described the mob violence against international students, including Pakistanis, as a protest against illegal foreigners.

Later in the day, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch told Aaj News that the situation in Bishkek has returned to normal after more than 16 hours.

“According to the information available to us, the situation is normal there [in Kyrgyzstan] and the police have taken action against gangs and mob,” she said.

The police have been deployed outside the hostels, she added reiterated that the safety and security situation was “very improved.”

Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar would leave for Kyrgyzstan on Sunday, according to PM Shehbaz’s decision. Adviser to the PM on Kashmir Affairs Amir Muqam would accompany him. He would meet officials, students, and review matters related to the return of students to Pakistan.

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