Coronavirus: Pakistan opens Attari-Wagah border for 3 days to repatriate stranded Indians

ISLAMABAD: The Attari-Wagah border will open for three days starting today to repatriate stranded Indians in Pakistan, the interior ministry said on Thursday.

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The interior ministry added that the 748 Indians stranded in Pakistan due to the coronavirus lockdown will return to their country in three phases.

In the first and second batches, 250 each Indian nationals will be repatriated while the third batch is made up of the remaining 248 Indian nationals, the interior ministry said, adding the Indian nationals were in different cities of Pakistan.

Pakistan on March 19 had closed the Wagah Border in its bid to prevent the spread of the virus in the country.

According to Hindustan Times, a team of about six doctors will be at the border to screen the returning people at the integrated check post (ICP) at the Attari-Wagha border.

The batch of returning citizens also includes 402 students from Kashmir who have been studying in various universities of Pakistan. Others, being repatriated were on a pilgrimage to various religious spots in Pakistan.

Seventy persons from Gujarat; 61 from Maharashtra, 46 from Uttar Pradesh, 38 from Rajasthan, 36 from Punjab, 26 from Delhi, 15 from Madhya Pradesh, 14 from Haryana, 11 from Telangana, six each from Karnataka and Chandigarh, five from Chhattisgarh, four from Tamil Nadu, three from West Bengal, two each from Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and one from Bihar, according to the Indian publication.

Earlier, on May 27, the Indian government had facilitated the return of 179 Pakistanis to their country through the land border. They were stranded in various states of India due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

After restrictions were partially lifted 400 Pakistanis again returned home from the Wagah border.

On March 14, India had suspended cross-border movement of passengers through the Attari-Wagah border after the Covid-19 outbreak. Pakistan closed its borders on March 19.

Earlier on May 28, 300 Indian nationals returned to their country after both the countries eased lockdown restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 80 Kashmiri students were also among those leaving for India. These students were studying at different educational institutions in Lahore.

Earlier, 176 Pakistani citizens who were stranded in India after the outbreak of COVID-19 arrived in Lahore on Wednesday via Wagah border. The citizens were kept at quarantine centres in Lahore prior to their departure to native towns.

These Pakistanis were stranded in different Indian states including Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and Delhi, due to the extended lockdown and closure of Attari-Wagah border following the outbreak of coronavirus.

The Indian government had earlier allowed 193 Pakistanis stranded in the country due to the coronavirus lockdown, to return.

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