No loss of Pak life in Kyrgyzstan violence: Dar

Ishaq Dar says only four to five Pakistani students injured in Bishkek clashes  PM for necessary arrangements to bring back students from Kyrgyz  Republic  President House directs embassy to ensure security of students  Tarar accuses a political party of using social media to spread false information about events.

LAHORE/Islamabad   -  Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar Sunday said that a total of 16 foreign students were injured in the Bishkek attacks on Friday, including four to five Pakistanis; while the reports of any deaths were completely false.

Addressing a press conference here, Dar stated that he had talked to his Kyrgyz counterpart, Jeenbek Kulubayev, who had assured him that the situation in Bishkek was under control and that social media had exaggerated the events.

Dar indicated that Kyrgyz authorities blamed paid bloggers for spreading rumors and inciting violence via social media. Despite initial plans to visit Bishkek, Dar noted that Kulubayev advised against it, asserting that the situation was now stable. No further incidents had been reported since Friday, and additional flights would be arranged to bring back Pakistani students who wished to return, he further stated.

Dar highlighted that around 11,000 Pakistani students were studying in Kyrgyzstan, with over 5,000 in Bishkek. He emphasized the importance of trusting Kyrgyz officials and maintaining diplomatic relations despite the rumors. According to Kulubayev, some perpetrators had already been arrested, and the Kyrgyz government was committed to holding them accountable. Dar said that three special commercial flights had been arranged to bring back 540 Pakistani students from Kyrgyzstan on Sunday.

Dar said, “Yesterday, around 130 students reached Pakistan via commercial flights. So today, three commercial flights, special flights have been arranged. Through these 540 more students will be able to return and the [total] number will increase to 670.”

He 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.

Information Minister Attaullah Tarar clarified that the unrest was not specifically targeted at Pakistanis. It stemmed from a brawl involving locals and Egyptian students, which then involved students from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. Tarar accused a political party of using social media to spread false information about the events in Bishkek, aiming to alarm students’ parents with lies about deaths and assaults.

Without naming the PTI, the information minister said a political party which had previously written a letter to the IMF against Pakistan’s interests, had launched a social media campaign to spread lies about the happenings in Bishkek.

“Neither any student has been killed nor anyone raped”, the information assured accusing a political party of propagating wrong and negative information to mislead the parents of students.

He urged those engaging in political point-scoring to fear Allah. The Federal Minister said that Kyrgyzstan’s Foreign Ministry shared a picture showing students from both countries sitting together. Tarar emphasized that the protection of every Pakistani was the state’s foremost responsibility. He stated that the data of Pakistani students residing in Bishkek had been compiled, and complete cooperation was being provided to those who wish to return to Pakistan. He added that some students did not want to return due to the disruption of their studies, but if anyone wished to return, they should register themselves. He mentioned that special arrangements have been made for the return of students living with their families in Bishkek, and the government will bear all the expenses of their return. The federal minister said he had personally been in contact with the students, and the ambassador was in continuous contact with them. The entire government machinery was taking this matter seriously, he maintained.

A plane carrying another 175 Pakistani students, stranded in Bishkek amid mob attacks on foreign nationals, landed at Lahore airport on Sunday. Information Minister Ataullah Tara received the students at the airport.

Separately, Federal Minister for Petroleum Senator Musadik Masood Malik on Sunday said the prime minister had directed to ensure all out support to assist the repatriated students from Bishkek for reaching their hometowns safely.

Addressing the students returning from Bishkek and media here at the Islamabad International Airport, the minister expressed his heartfelt sympathies to the students for facing violence in Kyrgyzstan.

Malik said the government made efforts but due to limited mission in Kyrgyzstan, it was unable to make extraordinary interventions.    

He added that due to limited capacity, the Pakistani mission abroad was not to remain all-prepared for such emergencies.

“The Federal Cabinet on behalf of the government extends an apology for the predicament the Pakistani students faced. We are running special flights to bring back all those who want to return and would not force the senior students who intend to stay as their final examinations were ahead,” he said.

The minister said the government had demarched the Kyrgyzstan government and got the surety from them that no more mob attacks would be allowed on Pakistani students.

“People made personal calls to me, the ambassador and we established a hotline at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy in Kyrgyzstan with four to five people operated the hotline to assist our students,” he said.

Malik vowed that the government of Pakistan would support its children in distress all over the world. “Our Foreign Minister is also in contact with the Krgyz counterpart and our embassy is also engaged with them as well. We will bring every children through special flights and two more are ready to repatriate them with safety,” he said.

The minister underlined that the government was taking commitment from the Kyrgyzstan government for the protection of Pakistan students staying in their country.

He announced that it was the government’s responsibility to send the students to their homes and would ensure all the required arrangements in that regard.

“In case of any problem, the students can reach out to us and the government will do the rest. I welcome you with a painful heart as I share the feelings what your parents had been going through due to the tragedy abroad and. The students have passed through great pain and distress and my heart goes out with them,” he added.

In a telephonic conversation with the envoy, PM Shehbaz directed him to stay in touch with all Pakistani students and their families in Kyrgyzstan. He said that the plane will depart in the evening today.

The premier stressed that the students who received injuries during the mob attacks should be brought back to Pakistan on priority, adding that repatriation of family members residing should also be arranged.

PM Shehbaz highlighted that all the expenses of the flights will be paid by the Government of Pakistan.

Informing PM Shehbaz about meeting with Kyrgyz Deputy Foreign Minister Imangaziev Almaz, the ambassador said that he was told the situation was completely under control and there were no new incidents of violence last night and today

Meanwhile, on the instructions of President Asif Ali Zardari, the President House Sunday contacted the Pakistani ambassador in Kyrgyzstan expressing concern over the violent situation in the county.

The President House stressed the need to take immediate measures to protect Pakistani students in Bishkek besides providing a conducive environment for Pakistani students to continue their education.

The president’s directives came after reports of unrest and violence in Kyrgyzstan, which has put the safety of Pakistani students at risk.

The Pakistani ambassador in Bishkek told the President House that the security situation of the Pakistani students in Kyrgyzstan was improving.

He said the embassy was in close contact with the Kyrgyz authorities and was taking measures to ensure the security of the students.

He said the Kyrgyz government and universities would arrange online classes for the students who were returning to Pakistan.

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