Mehrab Afridi

LANDIKOTAL: The participation of hundreds of Pakistani students studying in Afghan universities in the exams has become doubtful owing to the closure of the Pak-Afghan border in Torkham.

These students came to Pakistan owing to coronavirus concerns and now they need to go back to Afghanistan for exams scheduled in August, but still no clear policy has been announced by the government in this regard.

Hundreds of Pakistani students, mostly from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, are studying in Afghan universities. They had to come back to Pakistan owing to increasing coronavirus cases in Afghanistan. Their worries increased when the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) formed a mechanism for return of Afghan students from Pakistan, but no such mechanism was introduced for Pakistani students in Afghanistan. University and medical colleges exams in Afghanistan are scheduled in August, and the Pakistani students have requested the Interior Ministry to form a policy in this regard without further delay.

Suleman Shah, a student from Pakistan who is studying in Rokhan University Jalalabad, says 203 Pakistani students are enrolled in that university. He says many Pakistani students came to their homes due to corona concerns one and a half months ago, but now they are stranded here and cannot go back to university for exams. He says the students fear that their academic year would be wasted if this uncertainty continued.

Saeedullah, a Pakistani student at a private medical university in Kabul, says about 150 Pakistani students are enrolled in the university and their final semester exams are scheduled to start from August 05. He says all these students are currently in Pakistan and they are disturbed over the prevailing uncertain situation. He says the academic year of hundreds of Pakistani students in Afghan universities and colleges was affected due to coronavirus this year. He says all the students possess valid travel documents, and they must be allowed to immediately travel to Afghanistan.

Khyber district Deputy Commissioner Mansoor Arshad says Torkham border is closed for pedestrians since June 17 under the decision of the NCOC. He says permission to Pakistani students to cross over to Afghanistan could not be granted until orders from the government. He said the issue has been raised with the NCOC, and it is expected that it would take a decision on the matter soon.

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