UK collaborates with Pakistan to transport Afghan refugees to London

Approximately 2,000 'specific individuals' will benefit from this facilitation

News Desk October 24, 2023
Afghan refugees are seen upon their arrival in Tirana, Albania. Anadolu Agency

In a cooperative effort with Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority, British authorities have announced plans to transport a specific number of Afghan refugees to London via special flights under their 'resettlement scheme.'

The decision was reached during a meeting between a delegation from the British High Commission and top officials of the Civil Aviation Authority in Karachi to assess the feasibility of transferring Afghan nationals to the UK, Express News reported.

The civil aviation delegation, led by Air Commodore (retd) Shahid Qadir, and the British High Commission's delegation, led by its political counselor, discussed the issue of settling Afghan refugees in the UK and the operation of special flights for their transfer.

They agreed to operate 12 flights starting from the next week until the end of December to transport a certain number of Afghan refugees to the UK.

A special message from Director General Civil Aviation Khaqan Murtaza to the British High Commission’s delegation was delivered by the Pakistani delegation, which included representatives from the ANF, PIA, and Customs.

Read More: Afghan refugees pose financial burden: Kakar

The British delegation expressed gratitude for the cooperation of Pakistani institutions and their willingness to operate these special flights.

The Civil Aviation Authority has released a schedule outlining the evacuation of Afghan refugees for settlement in the UK through 12 special charter flights, accommodating approximately 2,000 Afghans. These charter flight operations will continue until December, with a weekly flight departing for the UK.

The first of these flights, carrying 200 Afghan refugees, is set to depart from Islamabad to the United Kingdom on Thursday, October 26, with special arrangements made at Islamabad Airport for this purpose.

It's important to note that Pakistan has set a November 1 deadline for all legal immigrants to exit the country, a decision that has raised concerns among various human rights organisations and the United Nations. These groups have called on Islamabad to reconsider its decision in line with its obligation to uphold the "non-derogable principle of non-refoulement."

Read More: No to amenities for Afghan refugees

In contrast to previous government policy, UK ministers have promised that Afghans eligible for the UK's resettlement policy will not have to wait for housing verification before traveling to Britain, as reported by The Independent.

The situation of Afghan nationals who previously served alongside coalition forces in Kabul, fighting against the Afghan Taliban, had led to them seeking safety in Britain. However, due to the UK government's decision not to charter aircraft and its insistence that refugees secure their own housing in the UK, these specific Afghans found themselves in a state of limbo, residing in Pakistani hotels after fleeing the conflict in Afghanistan when the Taliban took control of Kabul in August 2021.

Their visas had also expired, prompting action by Pakistani authorities, which included detaining many Afghans whose visas had lapsed. They were ultimately freed following intervention by the British High Commission.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ