ISLAMABAD, Feb 26 (APP): Pakistan Embassy in Ukraine has safely evacuated a large number of stranded Pakistani students and Pakistani nationals despite the difficult situation there, in the aftermath of Russian forces’ attacks on different key cities.
Pakistan ambassador to Ukraine Dr Noel Israel Khokhar, in a voice message on his Twitter handle, said that there were about 3,000 students in Ukraine and the bulk of which had been safely evacuated.
He said some 500-600 were left and the embassy was in the process to safely evacuate them, he added.
The ambassador said that they were making hectic efforts despite ordeals and difficulties in Ukraine.
“All Pakistanis are safe and we are trying to guide them under the difficult situation,” Khokhar said, citing closure of flights, banking systems and non-availability of transport and fuel.
Despite all these difficulties, he said they had evacuated bulk of the students and would be able to evacuate the remaining few ones. They maintained close contacts with the students, he added.
Sharing the latest details, the ambassador said a total of 62 people including 21 family members of the embassy staff had already been evacuated whereas 59 people were on the border crossing (Ukraine-Poland border).
He said another 79 people including 67 students and 12 family members of embassy staff were on their way to the Ukraine-Poland border. A batch of 104 students from Kharkiv was arriving via train while 20 other students were being evacuated from Kyiv on a bus arranged by the embassy.
Separately, Pakistan Embassy in Bucharest, Romania has established an additional hotline in addition to the embassy’s already existing one which is being manned round-the-clock.
Detailed information/guidance regarding border crossing points and visas are shared on social media. Individuals were also guided separately. A cell headed by DHM and supervised by HOM for coordination with the Romanian side had been set up for facilitation of entrants mainly upon entering at Siret.
In coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania, arrangements were in place for the immediate issuance of visas, further onward transit and medical assistance, while accommodation arrangements had also been made in the capital.
Facilitation is being provided for further transit of those Pakistanis who intended to leave for Pakistan or any other destination of their liking.
So far, four Pakistanis, who had lodged in Bucharest, were evacuated whereas another 16 Pakistanis were expected to be evacuated today.
A team of Embassy of Pakistan in Budapest, Hungary, left for Zahony border to receive 15 Pakistani students and the related arrangements were made for their reception, transport, stay in Budapest and onward travel to Pakistan.
The embassy was in contact with three other groups having 3, 7 and 4 members who had indicated the possibility of reaching on Monday.
According to earlier details, the Embassy of Pakistan in Ukraine had received 23 more Pakistani students at Lviv facilitation desk, arriving from different cities of Ukraine including Kyiv. They were set to be transferred to the Polish border through transportation arranged by the embassy.
The embassy had managed to evacuate 70 students from Kharkiv city which is one of the main battlegrounds between Ukrainian and Russian forces. They will be received today at around 11 am by the embassy facilitation desk at Lviv railway station.
The embassy was also evacuating 12 family members of the embassy staff. They were now being transported to the Ukraine-Romania border and the embassy of Pakistan in Romania was providing all facilitation on their side of the border, it was added.
The Pakistan International Airline (PIA) has chalked out a flight operation for safely evacuating Pakistanis stranded in Ukraine due to the prevailing situation there, said the national flag carrier spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez on Saturday.
In a news statement, he said preparations had been completed to send two flights to Poland from Pakistan on Sunday. However, the departure of flights was subject to the arrival of Pakistani citizens in Poland, he added.
The spokesman said the flights were likely to reach Warsaw (capital of Poland) as the arrangements at the existing airports near Ukraine-Poland borders especially Lublin city were not sufficient for the operation of a large size aircraft.
He said the Pakistani embassy in Ukraine was not only contacting all those Pakistanis who wanted to return to the country, but also providing them all-out information in this regard.
The PIA management was in full contact with the Foreign Office and officials of the Pakistani embassy, he added.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood met the ambassador of Ukraine to Pakistan and shared Pakistan’s perspective on the situation in Ukraine.