Pakistan evacuates hundreds of students from Kyrgyz capital

Four Pakistani students were injured overnight on Friday when brawls erupted involving hundreds of students from different countries

By AFP, Reuters

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Pakistan Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi speaks to Pakistani students at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore on Sunday after their arrial from Bishkek.
Pakistan Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi speaks to Pakistani students at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore on Sunday after their arrial from Bishkek.

Published: Sun 19 May 2024, 5:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 19 May 2024, 5:59 PM

More than 650 Pakistani students were being repatriated from Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan's foreign minister said on Sunday, after clashes broke out between locals and foreigners near student accommodation in the capital Bishkek.

Four Pakistani students were injured overnight on Friday when brawls erupted involving hundreds of students from different countries.


Students were ordered by authorities to stay indoors, students in the city told Pakistani media.

"Three special, commercial flights have been arranged," Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar told a press conference in Islamabad.


"This was an attack on foreign students — not just Pakistani students. There were also Indian, Bangladeshi and Arab students."

Around 130 students arrived in Pakistan on Saturday, with 540 more were due to arrive on Sunday.

The government summoned the Kyrgyzstan charge d'affaires to the foreign office on Saturday to provide details on the clashes.

The "disturbances" followed an incident earlier in the week when foreign students reported being harassed in their dormitories by "unidentified persons", the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Kyrgyzstan said in a statement published online.

Local media said more than 11,000 Pakistanis are studying across Kyrgyzstan, which is particularly popular with medical students.

Kyrgyz police said they had mobilised forces in the capital on Friday to quell the violence, in which hundreds of Kyrgyz men attacked buildings housing foreign students, including Pakistanis.

"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," Pakistan's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Pakistan said it had set up emergency hotlines for those affected by the violence.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif in a statement expressed concern over the incident, saying Islamabad would fly back any of Pakistani citizens who wanted to leave the country immediately.



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