Coronavirus: 193 Pakistanis stranded in India return home
ISLAMABAD – A group of 193 Pakistanis, who were stranded in various parts of India due to the coronavirus and subsequent lockdown, were repatriated via Attari-Wagah border on Tuesday.
Border security forces allowed on Tuesday masked passengers in private vehicles with luggage strapped to roofs to cross the Attari-Wagah border that separates the sprawling Punjab region split between Indian and Pakistan. The border opened on Tuesday for the first time since the ongoing lockdown began.
According to a message of Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, these Pakistanis were stuck in different Indian states including Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal for past several weeks following the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown in India and closure of Attari-Wagah border.
They had come to India for such purposes as visit, pilgrimage or medical treatment.
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The Pakistan High Commission appreciated the understanding and patience shown by these Pakistanis, and said the Mission was making efforts for their early repatriation with the support of the Foreign Office and relevant national stakeholders.
The Mission also facilitated and coordinated logistics for transfer of these Pakistanis to Attari, amid lockdown, from 25 Indian cities including, among many others Agra, Ahmedabad, Bijnor, Bhopal, Delhi, Gurgaon, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Nagpur and Raipur.
Since March 20, 243 stranded Pakistanis have been repatriated from India and the Mission thanked the Indian Ministry of External Affairs for their assistance in that regard.
The High Commission would continue with its ongoing efforts towards early repatriation of all the remaining Pakistanis stranded in India.
In these extraordinary times when we are all confronted with the challenge of novel coronavirus, it remains the Mission's top priority to look after the stranded Pakistanis in India and facilitate their expeditious, safe and smooth return to Pakistan, the statement said.
India has recorded more than 46,000 cases and at least 1,571 deaths. The lockdown was partially lifted on Monday to allow some employment for the millions of daily wage workers who found themselves jobless overnight and have survived only on donated food. But the pace of infection is growing and experts say the virus still hasn’t reached its peak in India.
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