82 stranded Pakistanis due to return from India on July 9 — Foreign Office 

Pakistani rangers stand next to Wagah border Pakistan. (Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 07 July 2020

82 stranded Pakistanis due to return from India on July 9 — Foreign Office 

  • FO spokesperson says 114 Indian nationals to also be repatriated that day
  • Around 500 Pakistanis have returned home via Attari-Wagah border crossing since coronavirus outbreak began in March 

ISLAMABAD: A group of 82 Pakistanis stranded in India because of travel restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak are scheduled to return to Pakistan on Thursday, the foreign office said on Tuesday.

On Monday, the Indian government had requested local authorities to assist in the movement of Pakistani nationals to the Attari-Wagah border crossing from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab. 

The Pakistan government has also directed Pakistan’s paramilitary Rangers to help repatriate Indian citizens via Wagah following “necessary health security protocols.”

“We are expecting our stranded nationals to return on July 9,” foreign office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui told Arab News, adding that 114 Indian nationals would be repatriated to India that day and 82 Pakistanis would cross back into Pakistan.

Around 500 Pakistanis stranded in India have returned home via the Attari-Wagah crossing since March 20, the foreign office said, adding that the process would continue until all remaining nationals had returned.

“In these extraordinary times defined by the coronavirus pandemic, Pakistan believes that international cooperation and collective action as one big human family is the need of the hour,” Farooqui said. “On our part we have cooperated within the region and beyond to facilitate our own nationals and those visiting Pakistan from abroad to repatriate to their countries as smoothly as possible.”

Arch-rivals for decades, relations between India and Pakistan have been particularly strained since August 2019 when Pakistan suspended almost all trade and transport ties with India after New Delhi revoked autonomy and statehood for the Himalayan Kashmir region it administers — territory also claimed by Islamabad.

Neither country currently has a permanent ambassador in place and in the last month, ties have worsened as each country has accused the other of illegally detaining and torturing its diplomats.

In May, India expelled two Pakistani diplomats after they were held for alleged spying, claims Islamabad has called “baseless”. India also said last month it would expel half the staff in Pakistan’s embassy in New Delhi over alleged spying by officials there, prompting Islamabad to say it would respond in kind.


Pakistan to resume middle school classes tomorrow despite rising COVID-19 infections

Updated 22 September 2020

Pakistan to resume middle school classes tomorrow despite rising COVID-19 infections

  • Dozens of educational institutions around the country were closed this week over violation of virus standard operating proce­dures and detection of new cases
  • Earlier this month, government announced it would allow the “phased” reopening of all educational institutions from September 15

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Tuesday said middle schools across the country would resume regular classes as scheduled from tomorrow, September 23, Radio Pakistan reported, despite coronavirus cases being detected in educational institutes around the country this past week.
Schools were closed in March when the government enforced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. Authorities started lifting strict curbs in May and last month allowed almost all businesses and the tourism sector to reopen.
Earlier this month, the Pakistani government announced it would be allowing the “phased” reopening of all educational institutions from September 15.
All higher educational institutions including universities, intermediate and professional colleges, reopened from September 15, while grades six through eighth grade were to reopen on September 23 and primary schools would resume classes from September 30.
Following the decision of the NCOC to resume middle school classes from Wednesday, Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa officially announced that classes would start tomorrow. However, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said schools in the province would reopen on September 28.
Dozens of educational institutions around the country were closed this week over violation of standard operating proce­dures (SOPs) and detection of Covid-19 cases among students, teachers and other staff.
But Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said on Saturday that a hasty decision to close down schools again would “destroy education.”
“6 months closure deeply affected the students. Decision to open was taken with great care,” he wrote on Twitter. ” Any hasty decision to close will destroy education.”

The education minister of Punjab province, Murad Raas, said on Twitter:
“All Public & Private Schools will be allowed classes 6 through 8 starting September 23rd. It is imperative for everyone to follow SOPs ... All of us have to play our part to make this successful InshAllah.”