On Friday, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah resumed the hearing of a petition seeking evacuation of Pakistani students, directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to appoint a focal person for Pakistani students in china because of coronavirus to develop a mechanism for direct interaction of parents with their children in the country affected by the virus.
The national health services (NHS) secretary, along with the director-general (China) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, appeared before the court. Athar Minallah noted that some stranded students had contacted the court directly by email. He said that these students were suffering from mental agony.
The NHS secretary informed the court that Pakistan, in collaboration with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had formed a joint working group to resolve individual complaints.
Justice Minallah said why unlike other countries, the government of Pakistan was not bringing back those citizens who were not affected by a coronavirus, saying the students who sent emails to the IHC were not among the virus-affected people. Justice Minallah asked the NHS secretary whether Pakistan did not have the required capacity to deal with the virus.
Muddassir Tipu, DG of foreign affairs informed the court that the government was aware of the gravity of the matter and two diplomats had been assigned to visit the coronavirus-hit Wuhan city and claimed that the Chinese government had issued an advice that pulling out of the people was not safe.
Parents of the stranded students also attended the proceedings and informed the court that their respective universities had allowed the students to leave the country. They said that the Chinese government had informed them that the Pakistan government was not willing to bring the students back to Pakistan.
The court directed the foreign ministry to arrange meetings of the parents with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari and SAPM on Health Zafar Mirza. The meeting point should be fixed at some easily accessible place. The court adjourned the hearing to Feb 19.
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