Pakistanis back from Osh Kyrgyzstan

Pakistan has airlifted 261 of its citizens from southern Kyrgyzstan after deadly clashes there between members of the Kyrgyz and Uzbek ethnic groups, officials said yesterday.

The government decided to evacuate all Pakistanis from the area as pressure from their relatives mounted after the government in Islamabad announced at the weekend that a Pakistani student was killed in the violence, which began last week.

Pakistani authorities dispatched two air force C-130 planes after Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani told parliament Monday that his government would take every step to ensure the safety of its nationals in Kyrgyzstan.

“Today, the second C-130 aircraft has flown back 127 Pakistanis,” Nadeem Ahmad, chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, said Tuesday.

“The first plane already airlifted 134 Pakistanis.”

The body of the student was also brought to Pakistan and handed over to relatives.

The evacuees looked relaxed after landing safely in the country.

Sheraz Ahmad, a student from the central city of Multan, told the media at the airport that he twice tried to escape from the area but failed.

“I am very happy that now I am in Pakistan,” he said.

Authorities said 1,200 to 1,500 Pakistanis are studying in Kyrgyzstan, but only those in violence-hit area have been evacuated.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who said bringing back the stranded people was the government’s “top priority”.

One plane also brought back the body of Pakistani student Ali Raza, who was killed in the rioting. His funeral took place on Wednesday morning.

Mr Qureshi said that the planes also carried relief supplies for people affected by the fighting in Kyrgyzstan.

There are reports that more Pakistanis are still stranded in Kyrgyzstan.

A resident of Punjab province told reporters that his son, a student in Bishkek, was still there.

“I spoke to him over the telephone on Monday. He told me there were 45 other Pakistani students in the university hostel where he lived.

“He said the hostel management wanted the students to vacate their rooms in view of the situation. I haven’t had any contact with him since then,” he told the Express TV channel.

Kyrgzstan has become a popular destination for South Asian students, especially those studying medicine and engineering.

Costs are quite low, classes are available in English and the standard of education is considered to be good.

Video, Special planes bring 260 Pakistanis back from Osh


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