India: Government Enables Return of 180 Pakistanis

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In a humanitarian gesture, the Central government on Wednesday decided to facilitate the return of 180 Pakistanis stranded in India amidst a nationwide lockdown to their home country. The Pakistani nationals will cross over to Pakistan from the Attari-Wagah international border in Punjab tomorrow morning.

This is the first movement of people from the border since all the international borders were sealed following the outbreak of novel coronavirus pandemic.

Official sources said the High Commission of Pakistan had requested the government for assistance to facilitate the return of Pakistanis in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab.

Even as Pakistan has engaged in several ceasefire violations along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the government decided to help the Pakistani nationals on humanitarian grounds, sources said. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is coordinating with the authorities to facilitate their departure from India.

The government has requested the police of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to facilitate the movement of the vehicles carrying Pakistani nationals and enabling them to reach Attari tomorrow morning.

“It is requested that all returning Pakistan nationals may be screened as per the international norms and existing provisions of the government of India and only asymptomatic individuals may be allowed to return,” a letter by Additional Secretary of MEA, Dammu Ravi told the police chiefs of the four states. Ravi is the coordinator of the MEA Covid Coordination Committee.

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