Family members of the Pakistani students, who are stuck in locked down Chinese city of Wuhan, held a protest in Islamabad on Wednesday, demanding their children be evacuated from the Coronavirus-hit city. The families expressed their growing resentment over PM Imran Khan-led government's refusal to evacuate hundreds of its citizens residing in Hubei — the epicentre of the outbreak which alone has reported more than 60,000 cases of the novel coronavirus.
The protesters took to the streets with posters in hand and raised the slogan 'Humare bacche wapas lao' (Bring back our children). Similar protests were witnessed in Karachi on Sunday. "For God's sake, we request from the government representatives please bring back our children, please listen to a mother's grievance," one protester, who declined to give her name, told media, bursting into tears.
State Health Minister Zafar Mirza took to Twitter on Friday and said that he and other ministers would hold a meeting for parents in Islamabad on Wednesday and that his government was working with Chinese authorities to ensure that students were taken care of. Pakistan said its embassy in Beijing is supporting students and a two-person team had travelled to Wuhan this week to meet the stranded students and gather more information about their situation.
Several countries, including India, have evacuated a majority of its citizens from Wuhan in special operations carried out by the governments. In several video messages which had gone viral earlier this month, these Pakistani students were seen appealing for help and evacuation and slamming the Pakistan government over its refusal to save the lot.
Around 30,000 Pakistanis, including a large number of students, are based in China. Hundreds of them reside in Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak that began late last year. The deadly coronavirus so far has claimed more than 2,000 lives and infected over 74,000 globally. Many countries have banned arrivals from China while major airlines have suspended flights to the country.
(With agency inputs)