LAHORE: The Pakistan High Commission (PHC) on Thursday commenced the repatriation of citizens stranded in India during lockdown imposed owing to the coronavirus outbreak.
Around 41 Pakistanis returned home via the Wagah border in the first phase, while nearly 150 still await repatriation. Furthermore, efforts are afoot for the return of Indian citizens in Pakistan.
Those repatriated include Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims. The purpose of their visit pertained to attending religious ceremonies as well as meet relatives.
The remaining citizens are also expected to return soon.
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The returnees thanked both the Indian and Pakistani governments for ensuring their return to their home country.
Ehsan Ahmed, a repatriated citizen, shared that he had gone to India on March 12 and was expected to return by March 19. However, he couldn't return due to the lockdown.
"I will appeal to all the Pakistanis stranded in India to remain confined to their homes and virtually remain in contact with the Pakistan High Commission. The Pakistan embassy is making efforts for the return of all Pakistanis," he said.
Amtal Basit also thanked both the governments for her safe return, and appealed to others stranded in India to follow the government's directives and remain confined to their homes.
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Many of the returnees were reportedly quarantined in various cities and screened at Attari before being allowed to cross the Wagah border.
The returnees have been shifted to the Jinnah hospital in Lahore, where they will be tested for coronavirus.
Presently, 105 Kashmiri students including 205 Indian citizens are in Pakistan who wish to return to their home country and are eagerly awaiting for a positive response from the Indian High Commission.