Friday Mar 20, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah has asked the parents of Pakistani students stranded in China to trust the state as it is taking the right measures given the circumstances.
Justice Minallah made the remark while hearing a case related to the repatriation of Pakistanis stranded in China.
During the hearing, high-level officials from the Foreign Ministry and Cabinet division presented the government’s response, which had earlier been sought by the court.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General (China) Mudassir Tipu told the court that things are improving in China following the initial outbreak, and that the situation will improve further in the next two weeks.
Tipu also informed the court that a plane carrying food items and medicines provided by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had already been dispatched to China.
He further said that the government has provided cash grants to "95%" of students residing in China.
During the hearing, parents of the stranded Pakistani students complained that the government had not taken any measures to bring back their children.
To this, IHC CJ Minallah said the most important thing is that the Pakistani students are much safer in China as they would have been at greater risk in Pakistan.
“The US and the UK have acknowledged after taking back their citizens that they did the wrong thing,” the judge noted, adding that the only success story in the world right now in the fight against coronavirus is the one demonstrated by China.
The judge said that the court would be wrapping up the case and that the worried parents should trust the state in the matter.
He noted that the National Security Committee is also looking into the issue.
The parents, however, pleaded that the case not be concluded but kept in a pending state.
In February, the parents of the Pakistani students had submitted a plea to the IHC asking that their children be brought back from China as Wuhan came under lockdown due to the high incidence of coronavirus cases.
In one of the previous hearings, the IHC said it would not interfere in Islamabad's policy on the evacuation of stranded Pakistanis in Wuhan, but asked the government to provide concrete assurances to the families of those affected that the citizens were in good hands.