COVID-19 lockdown: India permits 193 Pakistani nationals to return home

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New Delhi: In a humanitarian gesture, India has allowed 193 Pakistani nationals, who are stranded in the country due to COVID-19 lockdown, to be allowed to exit the nation via the Attari-Wagah crossing next week, media reports said.

According to media reports, the Indian external affairs ministry has told state police chiefs and asked them to facilitate their travel.

The Pakistani nationals have been told to reach the Attari-Wagah border by early Tuesday, May 5, when formalities for their return would begin at the immigration and border checkpoint, reported Hindustan Times.

People familiar with the development told the newspaper that the Pakistan high commission had requested India to help to facilitate movement of their nationals from different parts of the country.

The repatriation exercise on Tuesday covers 193 individuals living in 25 districts of 10 states: Maharashtra, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi, reported the Indian newspaper.

These stranded people will reportedly proceed towards the border this weekend.

“It is requested that all returning Pakistan nationals may be screened as per international norms and existing provisions of the Government of India and only asymptomatic individuals may be allowed to return,” Dammu Ravi, additional secretary at the external affairs ministry said in his communication to the state governments, as reported by Hindustan Times.

India extended the CPOVID-19 lockdown for two more weeks on Friday.