The first plane carrying Afghan refugees from Pakistan to the UK has touched down. According to official sources in Pakistan, the flight, which had 132 people on board, left for the UK.
Thousands of individuals who fled the Taliban due to their association with or work for the UK government in Afghanistan have been waiting in Pakistan for resettlement. This group includes former translators for the British Army and teachers for the British Council.
Civil Aviation Authority
The Civil Aviation Authority has reported that the UK government has chartered a total of 12 flights to transport Afghans to the UK by late December. All of these refugees fall under either the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme or Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy.
Originally, they were instructed to go to Pakistan for visa processing, but some have been waiting there for over a year, and for many, their visas have now expired.
Earlier this month, Pakistan announced its intention to start deporting illegal migrants from November 1. Since the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan in 2021, they have declared amnesty for individuals who worked with international forces. However, many Afghans still live in fear of potential reprisals.
Some have expressed concerns about their safety of Afghan refugees , believing that following the instructions of UK to leave Afghanistan may have put them at even greater risk. One individual, who worked with the UK authorities and goes by the name Qasim, stated, “Before we left Afghanistan, our lives were in 50% danger. Now they are in 100% danger.”
UK visas to be “At risk of deportation.”
According to a risk assessment document presented in court, the British authorities in Pakistan now consider those awaiting UK visas to be “at risk of deportation.” Government data indicates that around 3,250 people, including men, women, and children, in this category have been residing in guest houses and hotels in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. During their stay, they lack the legal right to work, and their children cannot attend school.
Many of these individuals initially believed they would have only a brief wait in Pakistan. However, court-released documents revealed that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s directive, which extended their waiting times, stated that they couldn’t bring them to the UK and accommodate them in hotels except in extreme cases.. Instead, they had to find a longer-term housing solution before relocation, and one email indicated that they intended this arrangement to result in a net saving to taxpayers.