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New coronavirus variant: Pakistanis in limbo in UK because of journey ban

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LONDON: 1000’s 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 nations to slap a ban on flights from the UK and since then 1000’s of British Pakistanis have been in a state of confusion, ready for the restrictions to be lifted or eased.

A majority of the 40 nations which imposed journey restrictions for the UK have since allowed their very own nationals to journey.

On Monday evening, a flight of 371 seats from Manchester to Islamabad carried just one passenger from Sialkot, who was accompanying a physique.

Learn extra: Just one on board as PIA flight departs from Manchester for Islamabad

The ban in query by the Authorities 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 residence to the most important Pakistan expatriates in Europe. The ban has prevented numerous British Pakistanis from visiting their residence nation in the course of the winter holidays.

Pakistan has banned all twin nationals and Pakistanis residing within the UK below 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.

Discover out extra: Pakistan imposes non permanent journey restrictions on inbound vacationers from UK

The most important concern Pakistanis have is that varied airways are charging additional for rescheduling of the flights or providing e-vouchers which could be redeemed solely to rebook on the identical provider throughout 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 circumstances the passengers weren’t allowed on board.

There’s a frequent criticism that the individuals allowed to journey to Pakistan, who have been within the UK both on go to or enterprise visa, pose an analogous menace of carrying the brand new variant as some other British Pakistani looking for to go to the nation.

They query why the Pakistani strategy can’t be according to the European governments who’re permitting their nationals to journey again with a pre-departure destructive coronavirus take a look at.

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 as a result of ban imposed by the Pakistan authorities. He has since modified his ticket twice and paid additional costs every time.

Syed Sajid Naqvi reached Heathrow Airport on Monday together 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 Information and defined that cancellation of the flight and the truth that he should journey again residence to east London on public transport meant that the entire household can be uncovered to the chance 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.”

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