Pakistan repatriates 274 students from the epicenter of the Wuhan coronavirus
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has finally repatriated more than 270 stranded students in China, the epicenter of the, since the outbreak of the pandemic in December.
The repatriation came almost four months after hundreds of Pakistani students stranded in Wuhan in early February desperately asked Imran Khan government to evacuate them from China's most affected Hubei province, urging his administration to remove a sheet from the Indian book.
India at the time had airlifted 654 people, including seven Maldivians, from Wuhan.
However, the Pakistani government rejected his pleas and said it was not in the interest of the students or the country. India at the time had said it may consider evacuating students if such a situation arises and resources are available.
A special Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight on Monday brought stranded students from Tianhe Airport in Wuhan.
A special PIA flight carrying 274 Pakistani students from the city of Wuhan in China arrived in Islamabad last night. During the period of confinement in Wuhan, the Chinese authorities took extraordinary measures to ensure the safety of Pakistani students, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said. he said in a statement Tuesday.
Two officials from the Pakistani embassy in Beijing were also sent to Wuhan to ensure the welfare of the students, he said.
Zulfi Bukhari, special assistant to the Prime Minister for Pakistanis abroad, said the students had suffered greatly and were awarded a grant of Rs 50,000 per ticket as a gesture to thank them for their cooperation.
Thanks to everyone at PIA and abroad for coming together to make this happen, Bukhari tweeted.
Last week, Bukhari announced that Pakistan would send its first flight on May 18 to repatriate Wuhan students.
The Foreign Ministry appreciated the efforts of the government and people of China to extend full support and cooperation to Pakistani students, as the city of Wuhan defeated Covid-19.
Also reminded the president Xi Jinping 's telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Imran Khan on February 20 during which the Chinese leader reaffirmed that his country will treat Pakistani students as our own.
Pakistan faces the challenge of bringing back thousands of its citizens from different parts of the world.
According to the chancellor Shah Mahmood Qureshi More than 110,000 Pakistanis from around the world want to return, and the government is doing everything possible to facilitate their repatriation.
A special PIA flight carrying 257 stranded Pakistani citizens from Iraq arrived in Islamabad on Saturday.
Pakistan has reported nearly 44,000 coronavirus cases and 939 deaths due to the disease.