Violence in Bishkek

Letter May 21, 2024
Violence in Bishkek


In Bishkek, 14 students, including Pakistanis, were injured in attacks by local agitators. The rioters broke into private hostels, vandalised property and assaulted the students. The situation deteriorated after a fight between Kyrgyz and Egyptian residents, leading to an outburst of anger against South Asian students. In response, Pakistan’s Foreign Office summoned the Kyrgyz chargé d’affaires in Islamabad and lodged a formal protest. Additionally, local activists gathered outside the Kyrgyz Embassy in Islamabad, chanting slogans against the violence inflicted on Pakistani students.

Kyrgyzstan, a Turkic state in Central Asia, is a popular destination for students pursuing medical education due to its low costs compared to Europe and the US. As a result, many students from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India choose to study there. Following the forced evictions from hostels, Pakistani students began returning home, with the first flight carrying 180 individuals arriving in Lahore.

Given the long-standing religious, cultural and commercial ties between the two countries, this incident is highly concerning. It is imperative for the Kyrgyz government to address the situation and work towards resolving the tensions. Restoring normalcy and ensuring the safety of foreign students is crucial. It is hoped that officials from both nations will collaborate to find a solution to this pressing issue.

Gulab Umid


Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2024.

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