Safety Ensured

The recent events in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan throw light on the perilous nature of misinformation fueling dissent resulting in mob violence. A simple scuffle involving Egyptian students quickly escalated into a violent episode, targeting hundreds of international students including Pakistanis and Indians and exposing the challenges faced by these students on foreign lands. The government was thankfully prompt in its response in ensuring the safety of these students.

The Foreign Office displayed exemplary diligence and coordination in evacuating 540 students from Kyrgyzstan with its rapid mobilization of resources and the deployment of special flights to bring back the students to their families. The assurance by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar that no Pakistani students were killed provided a sense of relief to the anxious families back home, awaiting the safe arrival of their children. The Foreign Office’s adept handling of the situation has set a benchmark for crisis management, reflecting the efficacy of the systems in place. The main catalyst behind the incident was the spread of unverified videos and inflammatory posts on social media, highlighting the need for local and international authorities to develop a strong mechanism that scrutinizes the information being posted online and thwarts the spread of false information. Such content must be carefully monitored by these social media platforms and content that have the potential to incite fear and animosity between individuals must be curbed.

Another important thing to note here is that while many Pakistanis became a victims of this unrest, the violence was not solely directed towards them. This was an attack on international students, including Bengalis, Indians, and Iranian students. While this incident showcases the broader issue of xenophobia that has infiltrated society, the Kyrgyz authorities have taken steps to counteract this by increasing the security and holding the perpetrators accountable for these actions.

Moving forward, it is important for educational institutions and governments to collaborate in order to prevent the recurrence of such incidents. We need a system in place that swiftly debunks rumors before they can escalate into situations there is no coming back from. We have already seen how xenophobia has been on the rise since the genocide in Palestine began last year. Such incidents must be strictly avoided by governments around the world to ensure that they do not become commonplace.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt