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World

April 4, 2020

Stranded British-Pakistanis: Labour MPs write to British foreign secretary seeking to return home

World

Sat, Apr 04, 2020
MP Afzal Khan. Photo: File

MANCHESTER: Seventy-five members of the British Parliament, including Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow ministers, have written to Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab regarding British-Pakistanis stranded in Pakistan.

Gorton, Manchester MP Afzal Khan in a letter to the foreign secretary said there were around 100,000 British nationals stranded in Pakistan, as estimated by the British High Commission in Pakistan.

“We are concerned that the High Commission in Pakistan is not adopting examples of best practices that we have seen from other UK embassies around the World,” Khan said.

He added that many British nationals were either elderly, vulnerable or had an underlying condition and desperately need to access essential medicines and self-isolate safely.

“Airlines have cancelled flights and not given people cash refunds which have left them thousands of pounds out of pocket. People are running out of money and are going to need government support. The emergency travel loan is months out of date and nowhere near comprehensive enough to address the current situation,” he said.

In an exclusive video message to Geo.tv, Khan said, “We have concerns about airlines charging passenger double, triple and in some cases five times more. Pakistan International Airlines has cancelled tickets twice now. Scores of people have bought tickets at a higher price but were unable to travel as the flight operation was cancelled.”

“This is not acceptable at all. I urge the UK government to arrange loans for people who cannot afford these high ticket prices and are stranded in different countries including Pakistan. I am also demanding to put a price cap on airline ticket prices and both Governments should help bring back these vulnerable, elderly and families stranded in Pakistan,” he said.

The MP added, “The Pakistani government should also help these British citizens in accommodating special flights from Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. Pakistani diaspora is always there to support Pakistan; they should be supported by the Government of Pakistan in this difficult time.”

Several hundred British citizens stranded in Pakistan have taken to social media criticising both governments in dealing with their situation. In some cases, people have complained that they felt as if they are left abandoned with no support at all from both governments on ground.