Pakistan Assures Support for Victims of Bishkek Incident, Dismisses False Propaganda

Sun May 19 2024
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LAHORE: Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar on Sunday expressed his regret over the unfortunate incident in Bishkek and reaffirmed that the government stands firmly with the victims during this challenging time.

While speaking at a press conference alongside Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Attaullah Tarar and Federal Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs Ameer Muqam, Ishaq Dar reassured that medical treatment for injured Pakistani students is a top priority. He confirmed that all Pakistani students are safe and stated that the unfortunate incident stemmed from a misunderstanding, with false information being circulated on social media for political purposes.
Dar said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had activated an emergency unit right after the incident.

Ishaq Dar stated that his Kyrgyz counterpart, Jeenbek Kulubayev, confirmed the situation in Bishkek is peaceful, emphasizing that social media had been used to exaggerate the events.

Dar quoted Kulubayev, noting that 16 foreign students, including four to five Pakistanis, were injured in the Friday attacks. He dismissed reports of alleged deaths as completely false. According to Dar, the Kyrgyz authorities claimed that paid bloggers were spreading rumors to incite violence.

Dar mentioned that they initially planned to visit Bishkek. However, Kulubayev reassured him that the situation was under control, negating the need for their visit. Dar confirmed that no incidents had been reported since Friday and announced that more flights would be arranged to bring back Pakistani students who wished to return.

Dar revealed that out of the 11,000 Pakistani students studying in Kyrgyzstan, over 5,000 are in Bishkek. He emphasized that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is personally monitoring the situation.

The Foreign Minister said that about 130 Pakistani students have returned to the country and that 540 more will return today. “Kyrgyz foreign minister has said that no deaths have occurred in the violent incident and that the situation is peaceful,” Dar said.
The foreign minister further said that the government had also talked to the Air Force today, adding that it would also operate a special flight. “The capacity of that flight will be approximately 130 and for that, the embassy has let the students know. So far, around 50 students have let the embassy know they wish to go on this flight,” he said.
Dar that he had sent two additional officers from the Foreign Office to assist the Pakistani mission in Bishkek. He said if needed, the additional secretary of the foreign ministry could also be sent after discussing the matter with PM Shehbaz.

He described Kyrgyzstan as a friendly nation and stressed the importance of trusting Kyrgyz officials and maintaining diplomatic relations despite rumors and fake news. Dar stated that Kulubayev has assured that those involved in the violent acts had been arrested and that the Kyrgyz government would not spare anyone responsible.

Information Minister Attaullah Tarar, also present at the press conference, clarified that the incident was not targeted specifically at Pakistan. The unrest began after a brawl between locals and some Egyptian students, which subsequently affected students from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. Tarar accused a political party of using social media to spread false information and create panic among students’ parents.

The information minister lamented that “wrong news” was being spread on social media by a political party. “Doing this for political point scoring and to humiliate the government is condemnable,” Tarar added. He said that the political party spread fake news about death and rape. “I believe that such shameful act should not be done in politics,” the minister stressed.
Tarar lamented that pictures of Bangladeshi students were posted on social media with the caption falsely claiming that the Pakistani students had been killed in the incident. He added that the Pakistani government is helping the students who want to come back.

In his talk, Engineer Ameer Muqam emphasised that it was also to be considered that those studying there had spent their money. The Kashmir affairs minister reiterated that those students who wanted to return could inform the embassy there and would be brought back.
Ameer Muqam affirmed the government’s ongoing contact with Kyrgyz authorities since the incident occurred. “It is crucial to set aside emotions and focus on the facts. The education of students in Kyrgyzstan benefits both countries, and the government is providing comprehensive support to the victims,” he concluded.

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