Repatriation Continues After South Asian Students Attacked In Kyrgyzstan's Bishkek

Pakistan and India continue to repatriate thousands of students from Kyrgyzstan, where a wave of mob violence directed at international students in the capital city of Bishkek has spread terror and fear.

Repatriation Continues After South Asian Students Attacked In Kyrgyzstan's Bishkek

Thousands of Indian and Pakistani students continue to be repatriated from Kyrgyzstan after a brawl between locals and foreigners at a hostel in the capital city Bishkek triggered a wave of violence directed at international students. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar claimed on May 22 that nearly 3,000 students have already been repatriated, with that number expected to rise to over 4,000 by the end of the week.

Dar spoke with his Kyrgyz counterpart Jeenbek Kulubaev on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) council of foreign ministers meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan earlier in the week.

Despite rumors on social media that Pakistani students had died in the violence, Kyrgyz authorities have confirmed that no fatalities have been reported. Over 30 students are confirmed injured however.

On the night of May 17, violent mobs assembled to attack hostels where international students reside, attacking South Asian students particularly. The mobs gathered after an altercation between Kyrgyz locals and a group of international students, reportedly Egyptian nationals, a few days earlier.

Kyrgyzstan is a popular destination for students from South Asia pursuing medicine, with nearly 11,000 Pakistani and over 15,000 Indian students pursuing degrees. Kyrgyzstan’s Soviet-era medical colleges have high quality academic programs, attracting students from South Asia with low tuition fees and associated costs.