Some 190 Pakistani nationals stranded in India due to the Covid-19 lockdown across 10 states have been permitted to exit the country via the Attari-Wagah crossing next week.
The external affairs ministry has told state police chiefs and asked them to facilitate their travel, reported Hindustan Times.
The Pakistani nationals have been told to reach the Attari-Wagah border by early Tuesday, May 5, when formalities for their return would begin at the immigration and border checkpoint.
People familiar with the development said the Pakistan high commission had requested India to help to facilitate movement of their nationals from different parts of the country.
This is the second large group of Pakistani nationals to exit the country amid the Covid-19 lockdown. The last group that returned to Pakistan in April was much smaller and comprised people staying in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
The repatriation exercise on Tuesday covers 193 individuals living in 25 districts of 10 states: Maharashtra, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi.
Most of them would begin their road trip to Punjab's Attari on Saturday or Sunday.
Some of them would be on the road for the next two days. Like the small group that will begin the 1,700 km road trip from Bengal's Kolkata on Sunday morning.
"It is requested that all returning Pakistan nationals may be screened as per international norms and existing provisions of the Government of India and only asymptomatic individuals may be allowed to return," Dammu Ravi, additional secretary at the external affairs ministry said in his communication to the state governments.
Government officials, however, explain that the health screening is not enough to determine the Covid-19 status of a person.
In March, some customs officials and security personnel at the Attari-Wagah crossing were placed in quarantine after reports in the Pakistani media that two of a five-member group, allowed to cross the border as a special case, had tested positive.
In April again, some officials posted at the border were again quarantined after similar reports emerged after the return of 41 Pakistani nationals.