Pakistan repatriates over 3,000 students from Kyrgyzstan amid mob attacks on international students News
Pakistan repatriates over 3,000 students from Kyrgyzstan amid mob attacks on international students

Pakistan’s deputy prime minister Ishaq Dar said Wednesday that the country repatriated more than 3,000 Pakistani students from Kyrgyzstan over the past week amid the mob attacks targeting international students, including Pakistani students, in Kyrgyzstan. The number of repatriated Pakistani students from Kyrgyzstan is expected to exceed 4,000 by Thursday. 

International students, including Pakistanis, were the targets of mob attacks that started on May 17 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where over 12,000 Pakistani students studied. The mob attacks were triggered by a video depicting a fight between local and international students on May 13.

According to Kyrgyz news outlet, the Kyrgyz health ministry claimed that 29 individuals suffered injuries from the mob attacks. The Kyrgyz police said that forces were mobilized to subdue the violence in Bishkek, where the buildings international students lived in were attacked by hundreds of Kyrgyz men. The Embassy of Pakistan in Bishkek stated that the violence did not lead to any deaths.

Dar said that an inquiry committee would be established to investigate the cause of the mob attacks by meeting with relevant parties, and assessing how the Embassy of Pakistan handled the incident. The inquiry committee would be required to report its findings within two weeks. Dar also called upon Kyrgyzstan’s foreign affairs minister Jeenbek Kulubayev on May 20 to quickly take action against the perpetrators of the attacks on Pakistani students.

In response to the incident, Kyrgyzstan’s president Sadyr Japarov stated in a public statement that he would not tolerate mob attacks in Kyrgyzstan and that foreign students and workers are valuable contributions to the country’s economy. Japarov also said that Kyrgyzstan’s intelligence agencies have arrested the perpetrators of the attacks.

Relatedly, on May 18, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry summoned Kyrgyzstan’s ambassador to Pakistan over concerns of violence against Pakistani students in Kyrgyzstan. Mob violence against foreigners in Bishkek injured at least 29 people from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Egypt a day before. The Pakistan Foreign Ministry said in its press release that “the Kyrgyz government should take all possible measures to ensure the safety and security of Pakistani students and citizens residing in the Kyrgyz Republic.” The Embassy of Pakistan also opened an emergency helpline to help students and their families reach safety.