First flight since the pandemic takes Pakistani students to China
The first batch of 90 Pakistani students, who were unable to go back to China to resume studies for the last two and a half years, reached Xian, China, on June 20.
PIA special flight PK-6854 is the first flight arranged by the government for Pakistani students since the pandemic began in February 2020.
The PIA flight took off from Islamabad International Airport and landed at Xian Xianyang International Airport at 15.00 local time, official sources said.
The students underwent necessary tests and health protocols before their departure and will now undergo 14-day quarantine in Xian as per COVID-19 control and prevention measures by the Chinese government.
Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Rana Tanveer Hussain who went to the Islamabad Airport to see off the students regretted that they had to wait too long because of strict travel restrictions by the Chinese government. He assured the students that the rest of the students will also be able to fly back and that the process of returning to China will be completed in three phases.
Pakistani students said they were excited to return to China to continue their studies and thanked the governments of both countries for facilitating the flight.
For more than two years, Pakistani students have been urging the governments in Pakistan and China to help them return to their colleges and universities, fearing that they would lose their qualifications from Chinese universities.
Thousands of Pakistani students remained stranded at home, unable to return to classes despite constant official negotiations since China suspended the entry of foreign nationals in late March 2020 to stop the spread of COVID-19.