Foreign Ministry responsible for pilgrims’ return from Iran: FO

ISLAMABAD – The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday took responsibility for pilgrims’ return from Iran amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was responsible for allowing pilgrims from Iran to enter the country. In a statement, she said facilities were being improved by Pakistan at the Taftan border, adding that thousands of pilgrims were facilitated after the coronavirus outbreak in the Iranian city of Qom.

The spokesperson said, “The Pak-Iran border was closed, but it is our responsibility to allow our citizens to enter Pakistan.”

She also said, “Islamabad and Tehran were working with joint consultation on the issue of pilgrims.”

“Pakistani government and embassy are in touch with Iranian government on pilgrims’ issue,” she added.

Earlier, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari sent a legal notice to former Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, seeking public apology for ‘maligning’ his reputation by leveling false accusation against him about the Taftan issue.

It was said in the notice that on March 17, Asif stated that the government had failed to protect nationals against the COVID-19 and held Zulfikar Bukhari responsible for allowing pilgrims’ influx to Pakistan without any quarantine and isolation as required by law and social norms.

Rejecting the imputations against him, the special assistant termed the allegations as baseless and unfounded and said the allegations were disseminated in mainstream and social media that extensively hurt his reputation.

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