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Friday June 14, 2024

Bishkek violence: Kyrgyzstan govt says no Pakistani died in mob attacks

Police providing security to all hostels, says Kyrgyz deputy foreign minister in meeting with Pakistani ambassador

By Web Desk
May 18, 2024
A view of Bishkek streets after police dispersed protestors. — 24.kg
A view of Bishkek streets after police dispersed protestors. — 24.kg

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Hasan Zaigham held a meeting with Kyrgyz Deputy Foreign Minister Imangaziev Almaz on Saturday to convey the concerns of Pakistani nationals in Bishkek, the capital city where the violent mobs launched an attack on international students, including those from Pakistan.

The meeting between the two dignitaries came after the Kyrgyz government's confirmation that no Pakistani student's death was reported as a result of the violence that erupted earlier this week.

Triggered by an incident, involving Egyptian students, on May 13, the violence affected a large number of foreigners including Pakistani students.

Ambassador Zaigham, in his meeting with the minister, urged prioritising to safeguard Pakistani nationals. The Kyrgyz minister assured him that the local authorities have controlled the situation, which is now returning to normal.

The Kyrgyz police is providing security to all the hostels and the matter is being directly supervised by the Kyrgyz President, he told the Pakistani envoy, while assuring that the government will take legal action against the perpetrators of yesterday’s attack.

All fourteen injured foreign nationals, including some Pakistanis, were discharged after first aid, while one Pakistani national remains under treatment, he said.

Earlier today, the embassy said that Kygyz Ministry of Internal Affairs has issued press releases stating that the situation is under control.

Bishkek violence: Kyrgyzstan govt says no Pakistani died in mob attacks

The embassy had also maintained it hadn't received any confirmed report regarding the alleged death and rape of Pakistani students in the Central Asian country, despite claims made on social media websites.

However, it added, that there have been reports of light injuries to a number of students from Pakistan.

The embassy's response came in light of the violent mob attacks on international students in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek. The violence erupted due to a harassment incident involving Egyptian female students on May 13.

The city's Interior Affairs Directorate chief, on the other hand, said the reports of casualties in the May 13 fighting are false.

Why violence erupted in Bishkek?

Mohammad Abdullah, a Pakistani medical student in Bishkek, told Geo News that the dispute began over the harassment of Egyptian students by those from Kyrgyztan. The riots, however, broke out after Egyptian students confronted them, he added.

Abdullah mentioned that the Kyrgyz students then began attacking foreign students, including Pakistani students, across Bishkek.

Students have also complained about non-cooperation of Pakistan embassy in the midst of the violence unfolding in the capital city.

According to local media in Kyrgyzstan, a fight between local and foreign students broke out in a hostel in the capital city on May 13. At least three foreigners, involved in the dispute, were taken into custody.

On the evening of May 17, the local media reported, locals protested in Bishkek, demanding action against the foreigners involved in the dispute.

The chief of Bishkek's Interior Affairs Directorate requested to end the protest, while the detained foreigners also apologised later. The Kyrgyz media reported that the protesters refused to disperse, instead more people gathered at the spot after which the authorities detained several of them for violating public order.

As per local media, the protestors dispersed after negotiations with the head of federal police.

Pakistani Ambassador advises students 'stay indoors'

Meanwhile, Ambassador Zaigham had strongly advised all Pakistani students in the violence-hit city to stay indoors until the situation return to normal.

"We are liaising with the local law enforcement authorities to ensure safety of our student fraternity," the ambassador wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

The Foreign Office also reiterated the embassy's advise for Pakistanis to remain indoors until further instructions, while the government follows up with necessary action.

FO summons Kyrgyz Charge d'affaires

The Kyrgyz Charge d'affaires Melis Moldaliev was called to the FO for a demarche by ECO & CARs Director General Aizaz Khan to convey the Pakistani government’s deep concerns in light of last night’s incidents against Pakistani students.

“It was impressed on the Kyrgyz Charge d'affaires that the Kyrgyz government should take all possible measures to ensure the safety and security of Pakistani students and citizens residing in the Kyrgyz Republic,” the FO said in a statement.

The statement further read that the Kyrghyz authorities have expressed regret at the incidents of violence against foreign nationals including Pakistanis in Bishkek last night.

“They have also pledged to hold an inquiry and punish the perpetrators,” it added.

PM Shehbaz directs envoy to assist students

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has contacted the Pakistani ambassador, directing him to provide all kinds of support and assistance to Pakistani students in Kyrgyzstan, the Prime Minister’s Officer said in a statement.

The premier also instructed the envoy to visit the hostels and meet the students.

The ambassador, in conversation with PM Shehbaz, confirmed no Pakistani was killed in the incident. He told the prime minister that the embassy is assisting the injured students.

“Keep in touch with the parents of the students and keep providing them with information,” the premier told Ambassador Zaigham.

The prime minister also instructed the embassy to provide all kinds of medical facilities to the injured students, while also directing arrangements to be made for the immediate return of injured students.

“The government of Pakistan will bear the travel expenses of the injured students. I am personally monitoring the situation in Kyrgyzstan,” the PM said in chat with Pakistani envoy.

The premier maintained that the government won’t leave the students alone in the situation and remains in touch with the Government of Kyrgyzstan.

Helpline established

The Pakistani ambassador and his team said they were available to facilitate Pakistani students via their helpline numbers.

The Foreign Office had stated that the embassy had responded to hundreds of queries by students and their families.

The embassy provided the following contact numbers for students to get in touch regarding any emergency situation:

+996555554476, +996507567667, +996550730550 and +996501140874

In addition, the following numbers for CMU at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad can also be contacted for any assistance: 0519203108 and 0519203094

Email CMU: cmu1@mofa.gov.pk

All these numbers are operational 24/7.