Opp slams govt for not evacuating Pakistanis stuck in virus-hit China
Opp senator says govt should bring back its citizens from China and keep them in isolation
Statesman Report
ISLAMABAD: Opposition lawmakers in Senate on Friday slammed the government’s decision to leave Pakistani citizens stranded in China due to “larger public interest” in the wake of a global novel coronavirus outbreak.
During a heated debate in the Upper House, the opposition called for bringing back over 500 Pakistani students who are stuck in the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan and for establishing a temporary quarantine to contain a possible outbreak in the country.
Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party’s (PkMAP) Senator Usman Khan Kakar said that a dangerous situation has emerged due to the spread of coronavirus. Referring to Wuhan, he said: “There is a curfew-like situation in the city.”
He added that Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza was of the opinion that the Pakistani students currently stranded in China should not be repatriated. “Chinese people are coming to Pakistan but our own citizens are not being brought back,” he alleged.
During the session, Kakar urged the government to bring back the citizens and to isolate them in a particular area. “We have been unable to treat tuberculosis, polio and measles, so treating coronavirus is out of the question,” he said.
Meanwhile, PML-N parliamentary leader Mushahidullah Khan called coronavirus an “epidemic and a global catastrophe”.
“The foreign minister and the health ministry need to take action immediately [in this regard]. There is a Pakistani embassy in China but nobody there seems to be active,” he claimed.
Criticising the government’s decision, he added that other countries were also evacuating their citizens from China.
“So far we have not adopted any precautionary measures. Whenever there is a problem, they just try to get rid of it. Their [students in China] mothers are crying and we have abandoned them,” he added.
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq stated that “coronavirus is now a global health emergency”.
“China has no hand in the current health crisis. They themselves have been affected by this virus. Only time will tell how far this virus has spread.

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