Tens of thousands of British citizens are feared stranded in Pakistan, according to shadow minister Emily Thornberry, because more than 75 MPs demanded action in a letter sent to the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab.
Thornberry, a former shadow foreign minister and now a shadow international trade minister, has collected data from Labor MPs who have been inundated with calls and emails from constituents. He has given Raab a detailed action plan that the party wants to see immediately.
His letter came amid growing anger in England £ 75 million air freight operations has produced charter flights to Peru, India, South Africa and Nepal but not to Pakistan.
Osman Riaz, a 33-year-old trauma surgeon at the Pindersfield general hospital in Wakefield, was among those trying to return.
He said he felt that Britons from the relics of Pakistan were “classified as second class citizens”, after being unable to get a flight back despite numerous calls to the embassy in Islamabad.
“I really hope that the British government will unite their actions and start treating British citizens Pakistan same with their colleagues in India, “he said.
Businessmen who want to rent planes with landing rights and logistical support are said to have offered their support.
Sam Tarry, Labor MP for Ilford South, has spoken to him and said the offer had so far been ignored by the Foreign Office.
Thornberry’s letter to Raab, which was also signed by Jeremy Corbyn, new deputy leader Angela Rayner and 73 other MPs, spoke of those who “urgently need to go home to access their essential medicines and isolate themselves safely”.
“Many of these citizens are elderly, vulnerable and suffer from critical fundamental conditions,” he said.
It expressed “concern that the high commission in Pakistan did not adopt the best practice example we have seen from other embassies around the world”, a reference to the direct efforts made by countries such as Germany and France to evacuate citizens when travel restrictions start will enforced throughout the world since mid-March.
Entrepreneur Syed Ahmed, former director of the Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has offered to send Airbus 340 with landing rights and logistical support.
Tarry said efforts to install a private charter were “a drastic step” but it appeared that a team of private entrepreneurs “would be forced to act where the government had failed”.
The FCO said charter flights are being prioritized for citizens in countries where borders are closed and because Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) can still fly from the country, efforts are directed towards commercial options.
It said 1,000 Britons had returned to Britain last week with four PIA flights with eight others scheduled this week.
In connection with the offer of charter flights it said the problem was not getting a plane but the FCO decided on a strategy involving charter flights for countries where there was no other choice.
However, those left behind blamed the “terrible” lack of communication and transparency by the FCO due to stress and loss of funds as passengers scrambled to continue on to PIA flights which were later canceled.
Others said the government should not outsource the management of emergency repatriation projects to airlines.
Shazia Ejaz, whose parents were displaced after their flight on March 23 was canceled, said: “They are elderly people who have paid taxes all their lives and never depend on the government for anything and when they need it, the FCO allows them to come down, but it can help backpackers in Peru that you can imagine are not the most vulnerable. “
Farhan Mirza, a 35-year-old research scientist whose mother was stranded, said, “I am absolutely disgusted by the way Mum is treated. FCO seems to assume everyone trapped there is a dual citizen and therefore has no right to be repatriated like in other countries, so we need to explore commercial options. “