ISLAMABAD - Aggrieved parents of the students stuck in virus-hit Hubei, China, on Wednesday showing mistrust on the government assurances burst during a scheduled meeting held with top heads of health and overseas ministers and demanded immediate evacuation of their children from virus infected region.

Following the court orders the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) and the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OP&HD) had held a meeting with the parents of the students stuck in Hubei, the province of China.

The meeting was planned in Overseas Pakistani Foundation (OPF) College F-8 where Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on NHS Dr. Zafar Mirza and SAPM on OP&HD Syed Zulfiqar Abbas had to brief the parents about the update of their children and relatives stuck in Hubei.

Around four hundred parents reached the college hall to attend the meeting, however, the situation became embarrassing for the government officials after few minutes when agitated with government’s claims, the parents refused to take briefing and started protest demanding immediate evacuation of their children from China.

The government remained stuck to its policy of non-evacuation of Pakistani nationals from Hubei.

Meanwhile, the parents and relatives demanded to shift their children and relatives to some virus-free place to keep them safe from the growing infection. The parents later took their protest outside the college and blocked the road reiterating their demand for evacuation.  

The top heads from both the ministries along with senior officials started their briefing on the situation of Pakistanis stuck in China, however, couldn’t continue it as the parents and relatives started their protest when they didn’t get any hint of evacuation of their children/relatives from Hubei.

Syed Zulfiqar Abbas while addressing to the parents said that the situation in China has became critical due to the COVID-19 but the government wants to resolve the problems of its students there.

He said that two officials of Pakistan embassy were allowed to visit the lockdown province and city and they are interacting with students to resolve their problems.

“Pakistanis living there are in safe hands,” he said.

He informed the parents that it is important to respond to every question of the parents and to convey about the government’s plan in this regard.

He also said that Pakistan has requested Chinese ambassador to allow its two officials to reach the lockdown area and they could meet the students there and stay with them until the situation gets normal.

Dr. Zafar Mirza said that the entire government and cabinet are concerned to share every plan and policy made regarding the students.

“Parents’ concerns are right but the circumstances are different,” Dr. Zafar Mirza said adding as parents are aggrieved party it is difficult to satisfy them but the government is taking every measure to facilitate their children.

After the short briefing, the parents lost their patience and started sloganeering against the government and took the stage as well.

Dissatisfied with the government’s assurances and policy on students, the parents made hue and cry saying that want their children back at any cost.

Mohammad Ashfaq told The Nation his niece Hafsa Syed is stuck in China.

 

He said that parents reached the college to attend this meeting from every province but they didn’t get for what they travelled to listen

“The government said it has no plan of evacuation but it also does not has any other solution as well and is giving parents a routine briefing which is a bunch of lies only,” he said.

“The meeting was disrespect of parents,” he said.

Ashfaq said that the government is hiding the ground realities as children were contacted after a month and were facing immense difficulties which the government is not accepting.

If they cannot evacuate students back to Pakistan they must shift the unaffected students to any other region of China which is virus free.

“It is like they are waiting for them to get infected,” said Ashfaq.

Arshad Ali Abro, whose son is medical student and stuck outside Wuhan, said that children stuck in China are being threatened that their names would be struck off if they shared their miseries.

“Students are living under threat of expulsion for speaking,” he said.