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Tuesday, June 18, 2024  
11 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Dar says trip cancelled at Kyrgyzstan government’s request

Pakistan to run special flight to bring back more Pakistanis
Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar addresses a press conference in Islamabad on May 19, 2024. Screengrab via PTV News
Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar addresses a press conference in Islamabad on May 19, 2024. Screengrab via PTV News
A combination of file photos show Deputy Prime Miniser Ishaq Dar and Frontier Regions and National Heritage and Culture Minister Amir Muqam. AFP/PID
A combination of file photos show Deputy Prime Miniser Ishaq Dar and Frontier Regions and National Heritage and Culture Minister Amir Muqam. AFP/PID
One of the Pakistani students who returned from Kyrgyzstan shows video to Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi on May 18, 2024. Screengrab
One of the Pakistani students who returned from Kyrgyzstan shows video to Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi on May 18, 2024. Screengrab

Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar said on Sunday that his trip to Kyrgyzstan to review the situation after the violent mob attacked foreign students, including Pakistanis, was cancelled at the request of his Kyrgyz counterpart.

“Last night we thought we should go there, they [Kyrgyz government] requested us and urged us to trust them,” Dar told a press conference in Lahore. Information Minister Attaullah Tarar and Frontier Regions and National Heritage and Culture Minister Amir Muqam accompanied the deputy prime minister.

He added that the host country requested him to send an ambassador instead as the opposition would politicise the matter if senior ministers arrived.

Dar said that the trip was planned to assure the students. Later, the host country’s request was accepted and two additional FO staff members were sent to the country for assistance. “If needed, an additional foreign secretary will be sent to Kyrgyzstan for verification after discussion with the prime minister.”

He spoke about the Kyrgyz government’s seriousness, by saying that the Central Asian country cancelled the leave of the ambassador to Pakistan for this matter.

Dar added the Kyrgyz foreign minister told him, “Brother please don’t worry I guarantee you everything is normal here. If you want to send somebody you can and see. If there would have been any such situation I would not have gone to Astana, Kazakhstan to attend the SCO.”

At the presser, he also shared that at least 540 Pakistani students would return to the country from Kyrgyzstan through three commercial flights the government would run on Sunday (today).

The return of more than 500 students would bring the tally of returning students to 670 after 130 students arrived in Lahore on Saturday night.

“Upon our request, the Air Force will operate one flight, airbus, having the capacity to carry 130 students. So far, 50 students have registered themselves with the embassy for the flight,” Dar said, “if the special flight by Air Force is filled, then the total number of returning students will be 830.”

Trip to Kyrgyzstan cancelled

A trip of Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar and Frontier Regions and National Heritage and Culture Minister Amir Muqam to Kyrgyzstan was cancelled on Sunday, sources said as students wait for return flights after they braved the violence.

They were scheduled to leave today at 11am for the Central Asian country to review the situation after a violent mob attacked foreign students, including Pakistanis.

Sources said that the ministry has decided to send additional staff from the missions in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to Pakistan’s embassy in Kyrgysztan to assist the small diplomatic staff.

The trip was organised to help Pakistani students affected by the recent situation in the country and review the repatriation process if needed.

“Despite the situation being under control, the delegation is being sent to provide necessary assistance and facilities to the Pakistani students,” a press release said.

Last night, over 100 students arrived in Lahore and lamented the embassy’s response to their issues.

While talking to Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi, they demanded that their friends in the country should also be brought back.

According to students, more than 10,000 Pakistanis study and several people work in Kazakhstan. Many students have claimed that the situation was not under control as described by the university and embassy.

LEA personnel deployed outside ‘sensitive locations’

Personnel of the law enforcement agencies were deployed outside the ‘sensitive locations’, reports said as the Kyrgyz government reviewed the overall situation.

All the protesters were reported to be dispersed after negotiations with the LEAs. They were also coordinating the security of the hostels.

Students living in different apartments have been shifted to hostels. Moreover, the embassy has contacted the medical universities for organising online classes for Pakistani medical students.

Pakistani students share ordeal of living in Kyrgyzstan amid violence

At least 140 Pakistani students returned home from Kyrgyzstan on Saturday night “on their expenses” as they shared their ordeal of living in the country amid violence. Those who spoke to reporters slammed reports of the “situation being under control”.

“If someone doubts our statements, then visit Kyrgyzstan and see themselves,” said one of the students at the Lahore airport. He rebuffed the university head’s reports that the situation was under control.

The interior ministry said that 140 students returned to Pakistan.

One of the clips from the airport showed one of the students sharing his concerns with Naqvi, the interior minister, as others acknowledged them. The student lamented the response of Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Hasan Zaigham who claimed that the situation was not serious.

Another student Shahzaib stated that he was also hiding in a flat and said that the mob was beating everyone without any regard for anyone.

In response to a query, he said that the mob was sitting in a place where foreigners were living and doing TikTok live, saying: “We will smash them.” He further rebuffed reports that the situation was not under control, adding that the two helpline numbers initially were not responding and they came on their own.

The father of one of the students told reporters that Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Hasan Zaigham did not pick up his phone when he conveyed his son’s whereabouts who was stranded in a room. He lamented the embassy’s response.

As many as 10,000 students were studying in Kyrgyzstan, the student said and added that some local friends helped them reach the airport as reports said some taxi drivers had beaten students.

When asked, the student said that he himself bore the travelling expenses and there was no government involvement. “It is the biggest lie if people think that the government bore the travelling expenses.”

Helpline numbers

Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch announced on Saturday 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

More flights to bring back Pakistanis today

The interior ministry statement, shared on Facebook, said that the government was planning to run more flights to Bishkek to bring back Pakistanis.

Naqvi also assured the returning students on Saturday that the remaining students would return home.

Kyrgyzstan violence

Violent clashes erupted between student groups in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek on Friday, with reports of attackers using batons. The conflict impacted Pakistani students.

Initial reports said that some students were killed and a few female students were raped, but the Foreign Office rebuffed such reports after communicating with the Kyrgyz authorities.

The government also demarched the Kyrgyz Charge d’affaires of the Kyrgyz Embassy Melis Moldaliev.

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.

Moreover, a Kyrgyz government report did not explicitly explain the details of the incident. The statement did not mention the details of the May 17 to May 18 incidents when locals attacked hostels where Pakistanis are living.

It mentions the May 13 incident but does not highlight the group of students involved in the clash as Pakistani students claim they were Egyptian.

It does mention the spread of false information in the viral video. According to the statement, two of the four people who attacked the hostel were identified.

Also, read this

Mob violence against Pakistanis: Kyrgyz media calls it protest against illegal foreigners

Tit-for-tat: JI workers stages sit-in outside Kyrgyzstan embassy

Pakistani students flee Kyrgyzstan as first flight lands in Lahore

Situation normal in Bishkek: FO

The situation in Bishkek has returned to normal more than 16 hours after a violent mob attacked several foreigners, including Pakistani students, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said on Saturday.

“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 in an interview with Aaj Exclusive.

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

When asked, she said that the government has no reports of Pakistanis arrested but added that if someone has credible information bring it to the notice of the embassy.

Small diplomatic staff

In response to a query, she replied that Pakistan’s mission in Kyrgyzstan was small. “We have one ambassador, one diplomat, apart from that we have a staff of five to six people,” Baloch said and added that all of them were working 24 hours from Friday and handling issues.

“Because the mission is small, we have made a Crisis Management Unit in the FO so that such issues, demands, complaints, and questions are raised to them and FO will facilitate them.”

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Ishaq Dar

Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan pakistan students

kyrgyzstan Pakistani students