Pakistan to send first flight to repatriate stranded students from Wuhan on May 18



ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will send its first flight on May 18, 2020 (Monday) to repatriate students from Wuhan, China,  Special Assistant to the PM for Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari said Friday.
Bukhari, in a tweet said: "I’m very happy for the 1st flight going to Wuhan to bring back our Pakistani students on 18/05/2020."
"You guys have been the bravest soldiers, PM Imran Khan & Pakistan are proud of you," he added.
Earlier in January, when the coronavirus had not spread all over the world, Pakistani students in China had said that they were terrified and were "being kept in one room." It was learnt that a few of the students had been tested for coronavirus amid a hysteria that had spread throughout the world.
When the news broke out that the students were in a difficult situation, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, Dr Zafar Mirza had said that it was not advisable to evacuate Pakistanis from China, noting that the government will demonstrate responsible behaviour and not become a part in spreading the virus.
"We don't want to take any emotional decision which will cause this virus to spread further," he said. "It is also our responsibility to ensure that our citizens in Wuhan are being properly taken care of and see to it whether they are being provided food or items of daily use or not," he added.
After which the Foreign Office ramped up efforts to provide relief to the stranded students, meanwhile, their parents filed a petition in court seeking the repatriation of their children.
The Foreign Office had said that it has established a hotline to facilitate contact with the stranded Pakistani students and community members in China’s coronavirus-hit Wuhan.
Furthermore, a task force comprising two Pakistani diplomats had visited Wuhan to assist the students. “On Pakistan’s request, China allowed a two-member special Task Force from the Pakistan Embassy in Beijing to go to Wuhan city to meet our students and coordinate all assistance to them,” FO Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said.
FO Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui had said that the task force would be permanently deployed in Wuhan and will “maintain close liaison” with the Chinese authorities.

IHC tells stressed-out parents to trust the state

On March 20, the Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah had asked the parents of Pakistani students stranded in China to trust the state as it is taking the right measures given the circumstances.
Justice Minallah made the remark while hearing a case related to the repatriation of Pakistanis stranded in China.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General (China) Mudassir Tipu told the court that things were improving in China following the initial outbreak, and that the situation will improve further in the next two weeks.
Tipu also informed the court that a plane carrying food items and medicines provided by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had already been dispatched to China.
He further said that the government has provided cash grants to "95%" of students residing in China.
During the hearing, parents of the stranded Pakistani students complained that the government had not taken any measures to bring back their children.
To this, IHC CJ Minallah said the most important thing is that the Pakistani students are much safer in China as they would have been at greater risk in Pakistan.
“The US and the UK have acknowledged after taking back their citizens that they did the wrong thing,” the judge noted, adding that the only success story in the world right now in the fight against coronavirus is the one demonstrated by China.

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