Hundreds stranded as Pakistan closes borders with Iran, Afghanistan

A photograph of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan reading William Dalrymple's latest book 'The Anarchy' on his flight to Jeddah with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi peeking over from his seat has gone viral on social media. by .
A photograph of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan reading William Dalrymple's latest book 'The Anarchy' on his flight to Jeddah with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi peeking over from his seat has gone viral on social media.
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Hundreds of Pakistanis are stranded at Mirjaveh border with Iran and Chaman border with Afghanistan … reports Fazal Rahman. The stranded Pakistanis are accusing Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Secretary Shah Mehmood Qureshi of ignoring the plight of stranded citizens. They failed to repatriate students from Wuhan also.

Multan (Pakistan), Aug. 5, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Arial photo taken on Aug. 5, 2019 shows the view of Sukkur-Multan Motorway in central Pakistan's Multan. The construction of the 392-km Sukkur-Multan Motorway under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been completed. The motorway known as M5 in Pakistan was designed for speeds of up to 120 kmh with a total investment around 2.89 billion U.S. dollars. (Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal/IANS) by .
Aerial photo taken on shows the view of Sukkur-Multan Motorway in central Pakistan\’s Multan. (Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal/IANS)

Hundreds of people are stranded at Pakistan’s borders with Iran and Afghanistan as officials fail to set up facilities to screen the influx.  Pakistan on Monday closed its border with Afghanistan for another seven days as a precautionary measure against spread of coronavirus.

The situation at Mirjaveh border with Iran has been worsened as more arrive to evade crackdown at Iranian cities. Pakistan Mission in Zahidan is learnt to be making efforts to assist Pakistanis stranded in Mirjaveh border.

The border at Chaman was closed on Monday last for one week as coronavirus has also affected people in Afghanistan, the Dawn reported. As trucks carrying Liquefied Petroleum Gas and other commodities were allowed to enter Pakistan on Saturday last, members of the business community were hoping for opening of the border and resumption of trade activities, Nato supplies and the Afghan transit trade, but the federal government decided to extend the closure of border for another week.

“The border with Afghanistan will remain closed till next Monday,” Commandant of Frontier Corps in Chaman Col Rashid Siddique told The Dawn.

A photograph of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan reading William Dalrymple's latest book 'The Anarchy' on his flight to Jeddah with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi peeking over from his seat has gone viral on social media. by .
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan with  Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi .

He told a meeting held in Chaman and attended by senior officials, representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and tribal elders that the federal government would take a decision to allow the people stranded on both sides of the border to return to their countries.

The stranded Pakistanis are accusing Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Secretary Shah Mehmood Qureshi of ignoring the plight of stranded citizens. They failed to repatriate students from Wuhan also.

In spite of all pleas, Pakistan sticks to the stand that evacuating the Pakistanis from Wuhan is not on the card in larger interests of the region and world. Close partners of China in South East Asia and Eurasia have closed their land borders to save their countries from the epidemic. Prime Minister Imran Khan ignoring the crisis, left for Kuala Lumpur on 3rd February on a two visit after skipping the Islamic summit in Malaysia under pressure from Saudi Arabia.

Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing, appreciated Pakistan for unwavering support to his country by refusing to evacuate people from Wuhan wherein about 800 Pakistanis in a city of 11 Mn people are studying. The unmindful Pakistan claimed that the decision is in accordance with the recommendations of World Health Organisation (WHO).

The Pakistanis have already started criticism that the Pakistan’s health care system is in shambles as strained  hospitals lack trained doctors and supplies. This is evident from the fact that Pakistan is one of the last places in the world still battling polio, incidents of dengue fever and HIV are on the rise.

Situation at Border with Iran

The border situation in Mirjaveh where more than 400 Pakistanis are waiting is inhuman. The Pakistanis in the border include pilgrims, deportees, women, children and old people. The weather is very cold and there is no shelter or medical facility for them to stay.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Tehran pointed out that Pakistani side has not given any clear response regarding repatriation of its citizens. Iran has requested Pakistan to take required steps to receive their nationals.

Pakistan Mission in Zahidan is learnt to be making efforts to assist Pakistanis stranded in Mirjaveh border as the border crossing has been closed in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak. However, Iranian authorities stopped the Pakistani officials and insisted on prior approval for delivering provisions to the stranded Pakistanis.

Many Pakistanis including businessmen have threatened to conduct protests at Zahidan Consulate and others have issued ultimatum that they would cross the border illegally with the help of locals if they are not allowed to enter Pakistan legally.

Pakistan views that Iran is not facilitating its efforts to provide food and shelter to their nationals at the border. There are even suggestions that if Iran does not cooperate Pakistan must arrange for receiving stranded Pakistanis at Mirjaveh border point. They may complete quarantine period in Pakistan side of border.  Several Pakistani nationals are waiting for more than a week as in every check point.

Meanwhile, another report says Pakistan Mission has approached Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Iran to deliver food to stranded Pakistanis by involving some local contacts. However, Iranian Foreign Ministry has rejected the proposal.

Pakistan Consulate has also requested to allow them for opening a unit in the border to make arrangements for stranded Pakistanis as Pakistan feels that adequate arrangements have not been made by Iran for immediate border crossing.

Many Pakistanis including businessmen have threatened to conduct protests at Zahidan Consulate and others have issued ultimatum that they would cross the border illegally with the help of locals if they are not allowed to enter Pakistan legally.

Pakistan views that Iran is not facilitating its efforts to provide food and shelter to their nationals at the border. There are even suggestions that if Iran does not cooperate Pakistan must arrange for receiving stranded Pakistanis at Mirjaveh border point. They may complete quarantine period in Pakistan side of border.  Several Pakistani nationals are waiting for more than a week as in every check point.

 

 

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