Islamabad: The Pakistan Government has no immediate plans to bring back Pakistanis living in Libya, citing fears that efforts to evacuate them may further endanger their lives.
Libya has been in the grip of turmoil since anti-Gaddafi protests began on February 15.
As foreign nationals continue to leave the conflict-hit country in large numbers, Pakistan officials are not sure what to do because options for moving around groups of people in Libya are limited.
“We have received reports that a large number of Pakistanis are opting to stay indoors at safe places in Libya rather than to move around in the streets,” the Dawn quoted Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, as saying.
Recently, Egypt had seen an upheaval that ousted president Hosni Mubarak in an ‘uprising of the middle class against a brutal dictator’.
“In comparison to Egypt, the situation in Libya is alarming and can be quite serious for families if they get stranded at the port, airport or airbase,” Khar noted.
The authorities are looking for a suitable place, preferably an airbase, from where Pakistanis living in Libya can be airlifted if required.
“With airports and ports in Libya becoming chocked with foreigners fleeing the country, it is important to look into other modes of evacuation as well,” the minister added.
There are between 15,000 and 18,000 Pakistanis stuck in strife-torn Libya.
Responding to a question regarding Pakistani expatriates in Libya, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in a statement that the ministry was “closely following developments in Libya”.
“A Special Task Force has been set up in the Foreign Ministry to monitor the situation round the clock and to provide assistance to Pakistani expatriates,” the statement added.
First Published: Sunday, February 27, 2011, 13:30