Pakistanis Among Students Under Attack By Mobs In Kyrgyzstan

Mobs attacked hostels and apartments where students were studying as embassy denies reports of deaths of Pakistani students

Pakistanis Among Students Under Attack By Mobs In Kyrgyzstan

Dozens of students, including Pakistani and Indian students, were injured in Kyrgyzstan's capital of Bishkek late on Friday after mobs comprising local students and others attacked the hostels and apartments where foreign students were residing.

The embassy in Bishkek advised the nearly 250 Pakistani students it established contact with in Kyrgyzstan to remain indoors until the situation normalises.

According to students and the embassy, the violence erupted after a video showcasing an alleged brawl between Kyrgyz students and some medical students from Egypt on the evening of May 13 went viral.

Then, late on Friday evening, mobs of Kyrgyz students and others attacked hostels and apartments housing foreign students. The mobs, witnesses said, attacked foreign students indiscriminately and destroyed property.

The situation deteriorated to the level that the government had to deploy the army in Bishkek to restore order.

Some Pakistani students, in a video message posted online, said that they are trapped in their hostel and are too scared to venture outdoors to even get food. They added that foreign students, irrespective of whether they were men or women, were attacked. They claimed that the embassy had done nothing to safeguard them and that they had had to hide in their apartment by turning off all the lights.

Videos showed Kyrgyz students dragging non-native students and brutally beating them up.

The Pakistani Embassy in Bishkek, in a statement, said: "So far, a few hostels of medical universities in Bishkek and private residences of international students, including Pakistanis, have been attacked."

The embassy said students from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh inhabited the hostels. 

"There have been reports of light injuries to a number of students from Pakistan. Despite social media posts about alleged death and rape of Pakistani students, so far, we have not received any confirmed report," the mission said, following up in a separate post later where it said that the "Kyrgyz government has confirmed that there is no death of Pakistani student in the recent mob violences against international students."

"The Mission has issued an Advisory for Pakistani students asking them to stay indoors until the situation returns to normal. We have also circulated our emergency numbers on social media as under: +996555554476, +996507567667," the embassy said. It added that the embassy had managed to contact over 250 students and their family members in Pakistan through these numbers.

"So far, the violence appears to be directed against all foreign students and not specific to Pakistanis," the mission added.

Diplomats said this is an evolving situation and that they would keep the Pakistani community in Kyrgyzstan and their relatives in Pakistan in the loop about any further developments.

Meanwhile, the Kyrgyz government said that it had detained some people involved in the riots and mob attacks, including foreigners and locals. 

Further, it said that the situation was now completely under control. About 15 citizens were taken to medical institutions for check-ups as a consequence of the brawl. 

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic has not received any reports on the injured foreign citizens." it read.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has taken notice of the attack on Pakistani students in Kyrgyzstan. He directed Pakistan's Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Hasan Ali Zaigham, to ensure the safety of every Pakistani in the country.