LONDON: Thousands of British Pakistanis are in limbo because of a ban on journey imposed by the Pakistan authorities after a brand new variant of COVID-19 unfold in Britain.
Pakistan adopted Europe, India and a few Gulf international locations to slap a ban on flights from the United Kingdom and since then hundreds of British Pakistanis have been in a state of confusion, ready for the restrictions to be lifted or eased.
A majority of the 40 international locations which imposed journey restrictions for the UK have since allowed their very own nationals to journey.
On Monday night time, a flight of 371 seats from Manchester to Islamabad carried just one passenger from Sialkot, who was accompanying a physique.
The ban in query by the Government of Pakistan got here into impact on December 21 for arrivals from UK. This ban was to final till December 29 however on December 28, it was additional prolonged till January 4.
The UK is dwelling to the most important Pakistan expatriates in Europe. The ban has prevented a lot of British Pakistanis from visiting their dwelling nation in the course of the winter holidays.
Pakistan has banned all twin nationals and Pakistanis residing within the UK underneath settled standing or work permits holding Pakistani Passports from travelling to the nation. It has solely allowed these on go to/enterprise visas to journey to Pakistan from the UK.
The largest concern Pakistanis have is that numerous airways are charging additional for rescheduling of the flights or providing e-vouchers which could be redeemed solely to rebook on the identical service inside the subsequent two years.
There have been cases the place a number of Pakistanis travelled from London and elsewhere to Heathrow and different airports with confirmed tickets however the flights have been then cancelled. In different instances the passengers weren’t allowed on board.
There is a typical criticism that the folks allowed to journey to Pakistan, who have been within the UK both on go to or enterprise visa, pose the same risk of carrying the brand new variant as every other British Pakistani searching for to go to the nation.
They query why the Pakistani strategy can’t be in keeping with the European governments who’re permitting their nationals to journey again with a pre-departure unfavorable coronavirus check.
Travellers share accounts
Naveed Hussain, who works as a barber in London booked his tickets to Pakistan in August 2020 to go to his ailing mom and household. He was scheduled to fly out on Boxing Day. His journey plans have been interrupted because of the ban imposed by the Pakistan authorities. He has since modified his ticket twice and paid additional expenses every time.
Syed Sajid Naqvi reached Heathrow Airport on Monday along with his relations to catch a flight to Islamabad however the flight was cancelled on the final minute, leaving round 75 passengers within the lurch.
He shared movies of his expertise with Geo News and defined that cancellation of the flight and the truth that he must journey again dwelling to east London on public transport meant that the entire household could be uncovered to the danger from the virus.
Sheikh Iftikhar, a businessman from Gujranwala, got here to London within the first week of December and has been unable to journey to Washington from right here.
He mentioned: “I have been trying since December 25 to catch a flight to Islamabad but I was stopped from getting on the plane. I was told that I need to have a Covid negative test. I got that done and went again on the 27th but there was no flight. I have spent nearly £1000 extra just because of the delays and I just can’t wait to be back with my family. It’s a nightmare for me.”