Pakistani students staying in Australia and Pakistani visitors need immediate attention from the government of Pakistan especially Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan. Several Pakistani students are studying in colleges and universities in Australia. These students meet their expenses by doing part-time jobs. As now businesses are closed due to the COVID 19 situation and these students have lost their temporary jobs. Many of these students want to go back to Pakistan. Because the airlines are closed at the moment, they are appealing to the government of Pakistan, especially Imran Khan, to take immediate care of them. Special flights should be arranged for these students to take them to Pakistan.
Permanent Pakistani Australians are helping these students in their possible capacity. I also formed a group and raised $15,000 through Crescent Relief Australia (a local charity organization) and distributed to urgently needy students, but this was not enough. The crises these students are facing far greater than our help to them.
The Australian government has refused to help these students, saying that students who think they are suffering from financial difficulties should return to their home countries. Many students want to return to Pakistan but due to the closure of the airline, they cannot travel by airline. Therefore, special flights will have to be arranged for them which should be managed by the Government of Pakistan. These students are the future of Pakistan who works hard day and night to get education & skills and serve Pakistan, they are the asset of Pakistan. The parents and relatives of these students in Pakistan are very worried about them and want them to be in Pakistan immediately.
These Pakistani students and Pakistani visitors in Australia have also tried to contact the Pakistani embassy and seek help, but according to them, they have not received satisfactory information and assistance. It is heard that the government of Pakistan is trying to arrange special flights for them from Australia to Pakistan. Even if the Government of Pakistan manages special flights for them there would be very expensive and asking these stranded Pakistanis to purchase tickets for the travel will not be fair, and would be out of reach for them in today’s situation when these students are already unemployed.
The Pakistani embassy and consulate offices are also contacting selected Pakistanis who are often acquainted with the embassy officials, but they are not fully connected with these affected Pakistani students and visitors. I was not contacted in this regard by Pakistani Embassy or Consulate otherwise I could have been helpful to diplomats in reaching out to these Pakistanis. Therefore, I would also like to request the diplomats based in Australia to pay attention to these students and stranded Pakistani visitors. If Pakistani diplomats want to get some information in this regard, I am happy to help them they can contact me anytime.