Pakistanis stranded in India because of virus lockdowns return home through the border with Wagah
Pakistanis stuck in India due to coronavirus lockout and border closure have returned home safely via the Attari-Wagah boundary, according to a message released Tuesday by the High Commission in New Delhi. Such 193 Pakistanis were trapped in various counties, including Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal, the High Commission has said.
Their return had been postponed for several weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic, India’s shutdown and the Attari-Wagah border closure. For different causes, including pilgrimage, tourism, and medical attention, the Pakistani people had migrated to India.
The High Commission thanked the stranded Pakistanis for being cooperative and recognizing the condition. The Mission was making efforts — such as planning and logistics — with the assistance of the Foreign Office and other national stakeholders for their early repatriation, it added.
The Mission facilitated and managed logistics for transferring these Pakistanis from 25 Indian cities — including Agra, Ahmedabad, Bijnor, Bhopal, Delhi, Gurgaon, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Nagpur and Raipur — to Attari in the middle of the lockdown,
A total of 243 Pakistanis stuck in India have been repatriated from 20 March to date, for whom the Mission thanked the New Delhi Foreign Ministry for its assistance.
The High Commission will continue its ongoing efforts to repatriate all of the remaining Pakistanis stuck in India early, it said.
“In these extraordinary times when we are all confronted with the novel coronavirus problem, it remains the top priority of the Mission to look after the stranded Pakistanis in India and encourage their swift, secure and smooth return to Pakistan,” the statement said.
On May 2 India was stated to have allowed these 193 stranded Pakistanis to return.
The Ministry of External Affairs had instructed state police chiefs to facilitate the travel back home of the stranded Pakistanis through the Attari-Wagah border crossing, while people were told to arrive at the border early Tuesday to begin their formal return procedure.
The MEA had said it would only allow asymptomatic persons to return to Pakistan.
“All returning nationals of Pakistan are required to be screened in accordance with international norms and existing provisions of the Government of India and only asymptomatic individuals may be allowed to return,” said MEA Additional Secretary and COVID-19 Coordinator.