Govt under fire in Senate over Pakistanis stranded in China

By: 24 News      Published: 04:43 PM, 31 Jan, 2020
Pakistan Senate

The government came under fire in Senate on Friday over its decision not to evacuate Pakistani nationals stranded in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Opposition Senators demanded the government to bring back more than 500 Pakistanis stuck in Wuhan and treat them here if they have any symptoms of the coronavirus.

PkMAP’s Senator Usman Khan Kakar said 28,000 Pakistanis are living in China but they are not being allowed to come back to their country. He branded it an ‘attempted murder’ by the government.

Kakar said PM’s aide Dr Zafar Mirza was of the opinion that the Pakistani students currently stranded in China should not be repatriated.

PML-N’s Senator Mushahidullah blasted the government saying its ‘standard operating procedure’ to deal with any issue was to ignore it. “The government is doing nothing except holding press conferences,” he added.

Leader of the Opposition in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq said several countries have been evacuating their citizens from China through chartered flights. It’s not appropriate not to heed the appeals of Pakistanis stuck there, he added.

Senator Rehman Malik said the government should send a plane to bring Pakistanis nationals back.

PTI’s Senator Mohsin Aziz backed opposition’s stance and stated that students who show no signs of the virus should be allowed to enter the country while those that are sick should be quarantined.

PTI’s Senator Seemi Ezdi, however, explained that it was in the best interest of the Pakistanis in China to stay there. “There are better health facilities. Here, we cannot treat this deadly virus. The government’s decision is in the best interest of Pakistani citizens.”

Giving a ruling, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani said that China has assisted Pakistan through thick and thin. “We should encourage China during this difficult time.” He added if Pakistani doctors wish to go to China to assist in efforts to tackle the virus, they should contact the Senate Health Committee.

 285,980 deported from KSA in 5 years

 As many as 285,980 Pakistanis were deported from Saudi Arabia on various reasons during last five years, Minister for Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi told Senate on Friday.

In a written reply to the question of Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini, he said Pakistanis have been deported for having expired resident cards, absconders, overstaryers, border crossing from neighbouring countries, engaged in work/overstay on Umrah visa, working other than designated professions, Hajj without permission, theft, narcotics, quarrelling and ethical cases.

In 2015, 10,826 Pakistanis were deported from Riyadh, 51,107 had been deported from Jeddah. In 2016, 6,662 Pakistanis were deported from Riyadh and 65,932 from Jeddah (including cases of amnesty scheme).

Likewise, 20,611 Pakistanis had been deported from Riyadh and 36,336 were deported from Jeddah during 2018. As many as 11,284 Pakistanis were deported from Riyadh and 24,533 from Jeddah during 2019.