A petition has been filed the Islamabad High Court (IHC), seeking the repatriation of Pakistani pilgrims stranded in Iran amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Syed Nasir Abbas Sherazi, the chairperson of Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen Pakistan filed the petition through his lawyer Fida Hussain Rana and made the government, Interior Ministry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Defence Ministry and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) respondents.
The petition stated that Pakistanis who travel to Iran, Iraq and Syria for pilgrimage to the holy shrines are usually given visas for 15 to 30 days, however, the visas of Pakistanis in Iran are either expired or are about to expire. It added that they are now stranded in the country because the government has suspended all international flights.
It further stated that while special flights were operated to repatriate Pakistanis stuck in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Europe, the government’s lack of interest in bringing back those stuck in Iran is putting their lives at risk.
The petition stated that Pakistani pilgrims who returned from Iran have been held responsible for “spreading coronavirus” in Pakistan, however, it was not the people’s fault but the “wrong decisions” made by the government led to this situation. It also stated that when the pilgrims started returning via Taftan border, there were no basic facilities for their screening because of which the people of Pakistan “were forcibly made privy to the said life-threatening coronavirus”. It further stated that some people and media channels had tried to give the spread of coronavirus the “colour of sectarian directions”.
The petition asked the government to bring back the pilgrims and to test them for coronavirus.