After over two years, first batch of Pakistani students leaves for China to resume studies

Zubair Qureshi

The first batch of 105 Pakistani students, who were stuck in Pakistan due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation and imposition of travel ban in China, left Islamabad for Xi’an, the capital city of Shaanxi Province in central China via Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), chartered flight PK-6854 on Monday.

The students left after going through necessary tests and health protocols. They have been pressing the Pakistani government to take up the issue with the Chinese government as their education career was at stake while the Coronavirus too was on the decline.

They were excited and overjoyed at their return to China and expressed gratitude to the Pakistani government and officials for making it possible.

Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Rana Tanveer Hussain visited the Islamabad International Airport to see off the Pakistani students going back to China.

These students had been waiting for over two years for things to normalize and Covid-19 cases to decline and now with the efforts of the Shehbaz Sharif government they have finally made it.

On the occasion, the Education Minister congratulated the students on their return to China to resume and complete their education. He said that it is our national duty to facilitate the youth in their pursuit of knowledge.

He acknowledged that the students had been facing difficulties for two years. A round of deliberations was held between all relevant stakeholders including Chinese Embassy, Islamabad, MoFEPT, HEC and MoFA to address the subject issue of 5,832 students who provided their particulars online to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

Rana Tanveer said that it was the first batch of students returning to China and soon the rest would also fly back. The students’ return to China will be completed in three phases.

Three phases for completion were decided according to the following plan. Priority-I includes 492 students who were due to complete their degree programs in 2019-20 and 2020-21. The priority-II will be 1,529 students who were to complete their degrees in 2022 and the priority-III are 3,196 remaining students due to complete their degrees in 2023 onwards.

In order to facilitate Pakistani students, this is a pilot project of sending the first batch of students back to China, which has been a tremendous team effort led by the federal minister of education and all other stakeholders, the Pakistan Ministry of Education stated.

A member of the Pak-China Students Council, Dr Asmat Malik who was also accompanying them requested all students to follow the strict standard operating procedure (SOP) that the remaining students’ future is dependent on their successful journey.

Thank God, the students’ pre-departure PCR tests are negative. Good luck for the 1st batch of Pak students, he expressed.

Last month, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari visited Guangzhou, where he thanked the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi for allowing the safe and secure return of Pakistani students in a phased manner to China.


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