176 Pakistanis return home from India via Wagah Border

176 Pakistanis return home from India via Wagah Border amidst travel ban

A group of 176 Pakistani nationals, including women and children, stranded in India due to the coronavirus-induced global travel restrictions returned home via the Wagah Border on Wednesday, officials said.

With the arrival of 176 people, a total of 400 Pakistanis have so far been repatriated from India via the Attari-Wagah border since March 20, 2020.

The Pakistani Rangers received them from the Border Security Force (BSF).

They were stranded in different parts of India for about three months due to the lockdowns and travel restrictions put in place by the government to contain the raging coronavirus disease.

“Upon their arrival, the Pakistani citizens including women and children were screened and transferred to quarantine centres in Lahore where they will stay for 72 hours," Mohammad Younis of Edhi Foundation told PTI.

“If their corona test comes in negative, they will be allowed to go home after 72 hours otherwise they will be quarantined for 14 days,” he said.

The relatives of those repatriated from India were not allowed to enter the Wagah Border to meet them.

They were stuck in Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi due to the extended lockdown and the closure of the Attari-Wagah border following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mahesh Kumar, a stranded Pakistani national, said that had gone to India early in March on a religious pilgrimage.

“Owing to the coronavirus lockdown, I was stuck there. I am happy to return to my country,” said Kumar, a resident of Sindh.

Those who returned were reportedly quarantined in India as well.

They were screened at Attari, the Indian side of the border, before crossing over to Pakistan.

The purpose of their trip to India pertained to visiting family, seeking medical treatment and attending religious ceremonies.

On Tuesday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement that for the safe and smooth repatriation of stranded Pakistanis, the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi remained in close contact with the Indian authorities.

The Pakistani mission also facilitated and coordinated their transfer to Attari from more than 20 Indian cities.

Over 200 Indian nationals are reportedly stranded in Pakistan. They are awaiting their repatriation.

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