WE News English Exclusive: Pakistani Students’ Safety in Kyrgyzstan Govt’s Top Priority: Foreign Office

Sun May 19 2024
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Syed Muhammad Ali

In an exclusive interview with We News English, Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson Ambassador Mumtaz Zahra Baloch dismissed the social media rumors about Pakistani students’ safety and stated that since yesterday Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek is safe and individuals can travel on their own to the airport if they want to return home.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar are in regular contact with the Pakistani ambassador in Kyrgyzstan and giving him directions regarding the provision of relief to the Pakistani students.

Ambassador Baloch said that on Friday night a few thousand Pakistani students were in the immediate danger zone and Pakistani students who had not registered with the Embassy were difficult to reach while the social media rumors and fake news worsened the situation. However, despite having a very small Pakistani mission in the Kyrgyz capital, consisting of only two diplomats, who have been working round the clock to contact, provide relief and reassure the worried students and also coordinate with the Kyrgyz authorities.

Pak Embassy’s Role

In response to a question about the Pakistani Embassy’s role in helping the students in Bishkek, Ambassador Baloch said ensuring Pakistani students’ safety and security is our top priority. She stated that on Friday, the Pakistani diplomats immediately contacted Pakistani students residing in the hostels and those who were admitted to the hospitals in the Kyrgyzstan capital to ensure the injured ones received timely and satisfactory medical treatment.

Secondly, many Pakistani families whose children were studying in universities in Kyrgyzstan, were concerned and reached out to the Pakistani Foreign Office to facilitate their children’s return trips. In addition, several Pakistani students based in Bishkek, who wanted to immediately return home were given advisory how to safely reach the airport, as well as timely assistance regarding flight booking and planning their return journey.

Student-University Arrangements

Foreign Office Spokesperson said that there were two categories of Pakistani students, who were based in Kyrgyzstan. The first one consisted of those students whose parents wanted their children to immediately return home while the second category consisted of a much larger number of students who wanted to leave after their final exams and had sought the Pakistani government’s help in organizing their online exams which Pakistan government had already requested with the concerned authorities in Kyrgyzstan. Some universities have already agreed to hold online exams.

How Was It Triggered?

Mobs consisting of local students attacked the foreign students residing in hostels in the Kyrgyzstan on Friday night which caused several overseas students to be injured. This created a sense of insecurity among the foreign students which included Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani students. However, the sharing of fake news and video clips on social media added fuel to the fire by causing many foreign students to panic and make frantic calls back home to rescue them. However, once the Pakistan Embassy contacted and reassured them that in collaboration with the Kyrgyz government, all efforts were being made to ensure their safety their concern is gradually subsiding.

“The rumors of deaths and rapes thankfully proved to be incorrect. Many students do not wish to leave because their education is at a critical stage and we will be working to make their stay in Kyrgyzstan very comfortable. Our message is to trust your Embassy and trust the government of Pakistan. Your security and your safety is critically important for the government of Pakistan and we will do everything in our power to ensure their safety to facilitate their stay in Bishkek.” Foreign Office spokesperson said during the interview.

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