Two members of the Stoke-on-Trent city council were stranded in Pakistan amid a coronavirus crisis.
The wife of the chairman of the Labor group, Mohammed Pervez, is also trapped in the South Asian country.
Labor council member Amjid Wazir, who represents Hanley Park and Shelton, and Council member Majid Khan have been stranded, independently, in Mirpur for more than a month.
Wazir councilors arrived on March 4 for three weeks and were scheduled to leave on March 27, but his flight was canceled only a few days before.
“They suspended all flights on March 23,” he said. “I can’t go back now, they are asking for a lot of money to return. They sent three or four flights last weekend but they are asking for £ 1,400. Now they are asking for £ 800.
“I already paid £ 500 for a return ticket when I arrived. The airline, PIA said to claim it back when I returned, from the original ticket.
“I know many people are trapped here also from England. I am worried for my family and my community in Stoke-on-Trent. I pray for them all the time, I pray you are safe and safe through this situation.
“We only have about seven or eight cases in Mirpur and they won’t let anyone in anyone out. I don’t know when I’ll be back.”
Councilor Khan arrived in Pakistan on February 23, but had managed to arrange a flight home.
He said: “Members of the Vizier Council are not far from me but we do not come together. I talk to him regularly.
“The situation for me is fortunately, I have arranged flights for me, my wife and my son on Saturday (April 11). But people are waiting in line for seats, they are like hot cakes.
“I was on one of the busiest streets but it was like a ghost town, no one was on the road. I arrived here on February 23 but it was much worse in mid-March.
“People worry when they run out of drugs, like me. But fortunately I have arranged my fight. Just keep my fingers crossed until I get on the plane. All we can do is obey Government guidelines and hope for the best . “
Pervez councilor said: “My wife went to Pakistan to visit her family and was scheduled to return on March 28. However, Pakistan was locked up a few days before that and all flights were stopped.
“Now there is some hope that some flights are being rescheduled.
“Pakistan has a fragile health economy and full closure is their best hope for controlling this pandemic. So it’s understandable why they are taking the actions they are taking.
“However, this means great disruption and concern for people who are stranded abroad.
“And this is a very difficult time for Pakistanis because people cannot work and cannot afford to even feed their families. Access to health services is also limited.”
Labor MP Emily Thornberry wrote to Foreign Minister Dominic Raab last week demanding more is done to bring ‘tens of thousands’ of stranded Britons back from Pakistan. The letter was signed by 75 other MPs.
The Foreign Consulate Office says charter flights are being prioritized for citizens in countries where borders are closed and because the PIA can still fly from the country, efforts are directed towards commercial options.
The office added that around 1,000 Britons returned to Britain last week on four PIA flights with eight other flights scheduled this week.