The UK authorities is scrambling to seek out properties for Afghans eligible for sanctuary in Britain who’re trapped in Pakistan after authorities introduced a brutal crackdown on refugees, The Unbiased can reveal.
Practically 3,000 Afghans, a lot of whom labored for the British military, have been stranded in Islamabad for months after the UK stopped chartering flights final yr and demanded refugees discover their very own housing in Britain earlier than travelling. Pakistan police stormed one of many lodges housing the UK-bound Afghans final week and arrested a number of whose visas had run out.
Pakistan has additionally issued an ultimatum to the 1.7 million Afghan asylum seekers within the nation with out authorized paperwork, saying they need to go away the nation by 1 November.The Unbiased understands that the federal government is now scrambling to seek out lodging for the Afghans within the UK and they’ll organise flights as soon as that is discovered.
A handful of Afghan households have already been flown to the UK this week on business flights and preparations are being made to maneuver extra. The federal government has written to councils which have free service household lodging spots to see if they’ll home the Afghan households there.
There are round 2300 Afghans in Pakistan who’re eligible for the Ministry of Defence’s Arap resettlement schemefigures for early September present. An extra 700 Afghans trapped within the nation are eligible to be dropped at the UK on the International Workplace’s ACRS scheme.
It’s unclear but how shortly the a whole bunch of households shall be moved, however Afghans residing within the Islamabad lodges estimated that 20-30 households have already come to the UK.
Lots of them are going through deportation again to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan if the UK authorities doesn’t organise their secure journey to Britain earlier than November. Households have seen their Pakistan visas expire as a result of UK politicians have left them to languish within the lodges for months – which means they now haven’t any authorized proper to be within the nation.
This got here to a head final week when Pakistan police stormed one of many lodges housing Afghans eligible for relocation to the UK and arrested a number of folks. The refugees had been solely launched from custody after officers on the British Excessive Fee intervened.
The Afghans are invited to return to the Islamabad lodges by the UK authorities after their resettlement functions are authorized and their lodging is paid for by the British.
One former interpreter with British forces who continues to be caught within the lodges instructed The Unbiased: “I’ve been ready right here for practically two years. New households are going to the UK day-after-day however I’m nonetheless ready and I’m so bored from life. Life could be very arduous and tiring and nobody listens to us. Nobody understands our issues. I dwell with a damaged coronary heart like a despondent and lonely individual.”
Charities and campaigners have known as for the speedy switch of those eligible households to the UK in mild of the Pakistan authorities’s threats to expel them from the nation. Dr Neelam Raina, an educational who has supported refugees who’ve been pressured to flee Afghanistan, stated: “The brand new Pakistan ruling is inflicting panic. The House Workplace should expedite these instances. A few of these folks have demise warrants in opposition to them in Afghanistan and face sure execution if deported.”
Charity The Sulha Alliance stated: “We’re calling for the speedy switch of Arap and ACRS eligible Afghans ready in Pakistan to the UK. They’re now not secure. Pakistan’s crackdown on undocumented Afghans instantly impacts Afghans in UK overseas workplace lodges, ready for UK housing.”
The Ministry of Defence, International Workplace and House Workplace refused to reply questions concerning the relocation.
A authorities spokesperson stated: “We proceed to honour our commitments to carry eligible Afghans to the UK, and we’re issuing new visas to folks in Afghanistan and different nations for resettlement right here.”