Stranded in India for a month, 41 Pak nationals finally return home

Had been stuck at various parts of India, including Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, were handed over to the Pakistani Rangers between 1pm and 3pm on Thursday
Pakistani nationals showing their passports before crossing over to their home country through Attari-Wagah border on Thursday.(HT PHOTO)
Pakistani nationals showing their passports before crossing over to their home country through Attari-Wagah border on Thursday.(HT PHOTO)
Updated on Apr 16, 2020 06:09 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Amritsar | ByAnil Sharma, Amritsar

As many as 41 Pakistani nationals, who had been stranded in India for last one month, returned to their country through the Attari-Wagah border on Thursday.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) granted them permission to cross over to their country on the request of Pakistan high commissioner in New Delhi.

“The 41 people were handed over to the Pakistani Rangers by Border Security Force (BSF) men between 1pm and 3pm,” said a senior official of the Land Port Authority of India (LPAI) posted at the integrated check post (ICP), Attari.

According to information, the Pakistan high commissioner had requested for assistance in facilitating the return of these 41 people, who had been stuck at various parts of India, including Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, to Pakistan. Special vehicles were arranged for bringing the Pakistani nationals at the ICP.

A team of health department was deployed at Attari border for the screening of these Pakistani nationals. After the screening, their customs and immigration clearances were done at the ICP.

“No one was found to be symptomatic for Covid-19 and all were allowed to return,” said Dr Jugal Kishore, civil surgeon, Amritsar.

“My relatives live in Mumbai and I, along with my wife, had come to take part in a function. We crossed over to India on March 8 and had a two-week Visa. Before the Visa expired, the lockdown was imposed and we got stuck. Now, we are thankful to the government of India and Pakistan for facilitating our return home,” said Muhammad Hussain, a resident of Karachi in Pakistan.

“I, along with my younger sister, had crossed over to India on February 18 to meet our elder brother, who was in coma, in Gurdaspur. On March 13, my brother died. We were scheduled to return to Pakistan on March 21, but the border was closed,” said Amtul Basit, another Pakistani national.

Meanwhile, Raja Singh, a Pakistani national, appealed to the government of his country to facilitate the return of around 200 Indian nationals, including Kashmiri students, who are stranded there.

On March 14, India had suspended cross-border trade and movement of passengers through the Attari-Wagah border as a precautionary measure to check the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19). But diplomats, officials of the United Nations (UN) and other international organisations, and employment and project visa-holders were excluded from the ban. Subsequently, on March 19, Pakistan too closed its borders. Since then, hundreds of Pakistani nationals have been stranded in India and Indians in Pakistan.

Earlier on March 30, MEA had granted a special permission to five Pakistani nationals, who were on medical visas and had been stranded in India, for their return.

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