No more Pakistanis in Kyrgyzstan: Qureshi

A PAF plane carrying the remaining Pakistanis stranded in Kyrgyzstan and the body of Ali Raza has arrived.

Express/agencies June 15, 2010

A second plane carrying more than 130 students and the body of Ali Raza arrived at Chaklala Air Base in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.

The family of Raza, a final year engineering student, was present at the airport to receive the coffin carrying him.

Officials including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and NDMA chairman General Nadeem Ahmed were also there to welcome the students.

Earlier in the day, 130 Pakistanis who were stranded in Kyrgyzstan's riot-stricken city of Osh, safely reached Pakistan.

Talking to the media the students said that situation in Kyrgyzstan was disturbing and they were trapped in their houses for days. They were thankful to the Pakistani Embassy in Kyrgyzstan and the Government of Pakistan for their cooperation.

Qureshi said that there were no remaining Pakistanis in Kyrgyzstan. The foreign minister also said that Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan have friendly relations and the Kyrgyz administration and departments responded instantly to Pakistan's concern over its citizens trapped in the civil war-hit Central Asian country.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had sent three C-130 aircrafts to Kyrgyzstan, to bring back 269 Pakistani students, and to carry relief supplies to the riot-stricken city.

The Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira congratulated the Foreign Office and the NDMA for carrying out the operation.

The impending rescue mission also dominated debates in both houses of parliament where lawmakers from the ruling coalition and even the prime minister held out an assurance that the trapped Pakistani nationals would be brought back unscathed.

The 269 Pakistani nationals, mostly students, were trapped in the Kyrgyz city of Osh as ethnic violence in the Central Asian country raged on. At least 124 people have been killed and more than 1,685 wounded in the ethnic violence, according to the latest tally of the Kyrgyz health ministry.

According to a foreign office report, a total of 1,200 Pakistani students were trapped in Kyrgyzstan.

The government sent two planes carrying seven tons of food and non-food items each to Osh city in Kyrgyzstan. The first plane took off from the Chaklala airbase in Rawalpindi at about 6pm in the presence of Air Force and Foreign Office officials. According to PAF officials, each plane will airlift about 135 people to safety.

Speaking to Express 24/7, Kyrgyz Ambassador to Pakistan Nurlan Aitmurzaev  said that he was deeply sorry for the loss and had spoken to Raza’s family.  “It was not a target killing,” he clarified. “I spoke to his family on Monday, and I offered my condolences on behalf of the Kyrgyz government.”

Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit said Pakistani authorities had sent an empty coffin on one of the C-130s bound for Kyrgyzstan, in which Raza’s body has returned.

Speaking to Express 24/7, Basit said the Pakistani government had been working with the Kyrgyz embassy and the Pakistani embassy in Bishkek in order to provide security to nationals in the violence-hit country.

Pakistani students in other Kyrgyz cities also managed to make it to safety, as reports came in on Monday that 27 students had managed to reach the airport in Jalalabad city in western Kyrgyzstan.

Among them, 20 are from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the rest hail from other parts of the country.

(AGENCIES with additional reporting by Mazoor Ali Shah in Peshawar)

Published in the Express Tribune, June 15th, 2010.


rizwan | 12 years ago | Reply pak govt zindabad we salute our goverment
Hira Mir | 12 years ago | Reply really sad to see the dead body of this young man coming back from another country. I feel sorry for his family and cry tears of sorrow. Just like sin Pakistan so many men become victims of violence.
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