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Saturday June 22, 2024

No Pakistani student killed in Bishkek incident: Ishaq Dar

"Fake news was spread on social media as not a single student has been killed," says foreign minsiter

By Web Desk
May 19, 2024
Kashmir Affairs Minister Amir Muqam (left), Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar and Information Minister Attaullah Tarar during a presser in Lahore on May 19, 2024. — YouTube screengrab/Geo News
Kashmir Affairs Minister Amir Muqam (left), Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar and Information Minister Attaullah Tarar during a presser in Lahore on May 19, 2024. — YouTube screengrab/Geo News 

LAHORE: Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar on Sunday rebutted claims that no Pakistani student, who came under attack in Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek, was killed in the incident. 

"Fake news was spread on social media as not a single student has been killed. About 16 students sustained injuries out of which four were Pakistani," said Dar while speaking during a presser in Lahore today. 

The minister's remarks come as it was reported that some Pakistani students studying in Bishkek lost their lives in the mob violence by locals in the aftermath of their fight with the Egyptian nationals on May 13.

The foreign minister said that they were not only Pakistani students as Indian, Bangladeshi and Arabic students also came under attack. 

The minister said that held a detailed discussion with his Kyrgyz counterpart, adding that the Pakistani ambassador in Kyrgyzstan kept giving the details from time to time.

Assuring that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is looking at the matter, the FM said about 130 Pakistani students have returned to the country and that 540 more will return today. 

Dar added that they have restored the emergency unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Speaking about the incident, Dar said that the Kyrgyz FM said their opposition is running campaigns against international students and that it talks against the government's policy.

FM Dar also said that he and Muqam were going to Bishkek, however, the Kyrgyz FM told them not to come as he assured them that the situation was under control.

The minister said that about 11,000 students are in Bishkek while 6,000 are in different cities.

Tarar slams party for spreading propaganda 

Meanwhile, Information Minister Attaullah Tarar slammed a political party for spreading propaganda on social media regarding the deaths of Pakistani students during mob violence.

Lamenting that "wrong news" was being spread on social media by a political party, Tarar said that "doing this for political point scoring and to humiliate the government is condemnable".

Tarar said that the political party spread fake news about death and rape, urging it not to do so. "I believe that such shameful act should not be done in politics," he stressed.

He added that pictures of Bangladeshi students were posted on social media with the caption alleging that the Pakistani students have been killed in the incident.

Speaking about the incident, Tarar said there was a clash between local students and Arab students, after which this incident took place. He added that the government is helping the students who want to come back.

"Kyrgyz foreign minister has said that no deaths have been occurred in the incident and that the situation is peaceful," said Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar Ishaq Dar during a press conference flanked by Tarar and Kashmir Affairs Minister Amir Muqam.

Emergency helpline numbers

A day earlier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also activated its Crisis Management Unit on the instruction and issued emergency helpline numbers for Pakistani students.

Pakistani nationals in the Kyrgyz Republic and their families may contact the unit at 051-9203108 and 051-9203094.

The CMU may also be contacted via email at: cmu1@mofa.gov.pk.

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

+996555554476, +996507567667, +996550730550 and +996501140874

In a statement on her X handle, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zehra Baloch said the Pakistan embassy has opened emergency helplines and is responding to queries of students and their families.

What happened 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 protesters dispersed after negotiations with the head of federal police.

Pakistani students, speaking with Geo News, shared that the riots are continuing in Bishkek and foreign students are surrounded by locals.

“We have been told not to leave the hostels and residences,” students said, adding that they have not received any response from the Pakistani embassy.

The students mentioned that a large number of “mischievous” Kyrgyz youths were present at the Bishkek Manas International Airport.

“Foreign students going to the airport are also being attacked,” they said.