Around 28,000 Pakistani students are enrolled in Chinese educational institutions and about 11 thousands have been stuck in Pakistan since China suspended the entry of foreigners in March 2020 to stop the spread of COVID-19.
It’s been two years since Covid-19, but thousands of Pakistani students, who returned home from China in the middle of their studies due to the pandemic, still had not been able to recommence their studies in the neighboring country. However, after a long struggle to travel back to China, these students have now made appeal to Prime Minister Imran Khan to interfere in the problem so that they could resume their studies.
Two years back in December 2019, the Covid-19 epidemic had started developing in Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei province. Due to which a lockdown was executed, and international traffic was deferred to most of the countries.
While talking to the media, Adam Ali, an engineering student enrolled in a Shanghai university said that the students of medicine, engineering, Ph.D., and other disciplines had to return to Pakistan in January 2020.
“At that time, special assistant to the prime minister for overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari had promised that all students will be sent back to China in July 2020. We have been stuck in Pakistan for almost two years, but China has not announced a policy for Pakistani students.”
“There are a number of students who have returned to Pakistan, but as many as 5,875 students have registered themselves with the Pakistani embassy in China with a request to make arrangements for their return,” he said.
Moreover, Adam informed the media, “Our universities in China have informed us that the X Category (study) visas were not being issued and they (universities) were waiting for a notification from the Chinese government to issue call letters. On the other hand, a local company in Pakistan, which collects passports of students for the visa, is not receiving passports for X Category and saying that there is a ban on it.”
Additionally, a medical student, Ali Raza said they also met Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar but only got assurances.
“Medical students were studying online, but now the Pakistan Medical Commission has announced that online classes of medical students will not be accepted as it involves clinical practice as well,” he said.
Regarding this issue, a Member of the National Assembly Shahida Akhtar, who belongs to the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, highlighted the dispute on the floor of the house.