New Delhi: The Pakistan government arranged a special briefing for the relatives of Pakistanis who are stranded in China to explain why the government didn’t rescue the students. Protests erupted in that briefing as the relatives threatened to hold a sit-in outside the Chinese Embassy and outside ministries. Also Read - Coronavirus: Death Toll Reaches 2118 in China; All 3 Patients in Kerala Recovering
According to Dawn, the families accused the government of doing not enough when even Bangladesh and Afghanistan had sent missions to rescue its nationals stranded in Wuhan. They raised questions over the economic condition of the country — whether they are even poorer than Afghanistan and Bangladesh that they can’t rescue their nationals. Also Read - Coronavirus Outbreak Will Have Limited Impact on Indian Economy, Asserts Shaktikanta Das
Special assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari reportedly told the relatives that Pakistan is the only country which has sent diplomats in the affected areas to monitor the situation of the Pakistani nationals.
“Being parents you must be wishing that your children should return today rather than tomorrow and you will not agree to any argument by us. Concerns of parents are right but we should also see the situation,” he said, as reported by Dawn.
Early this month, Pakistan had said that it won’t airlift its students in the interest of “our loved ones”. The remark came as several Pakistani citizens posted videos on social media, pleading their government to evacuate them, while India was airlifting its students. India’s foreign minister S Jaishankar has told Parliament that Pakistani students were also offered to be airlifted. Around 500 Pakistanis, mostly students, live in Wuhan, a city of 11 million that has been shut down after the outbreak. In the face of severe criticism for turning blind to the suffering of its own students in China, the Imran Khan government then again issued an order to do everything possible for the students who are stuck in Wuhan.
So, what he meant was not evacuation — arranging visits by diplomats is the most Pakistan can do.