Shabana has written to the Foreign Secretary on behalf of constituents stranded in South Asia during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This follows her letter last week regarding the wider issue of Britons stranded abroad. Since then, a number of constituents have been repatriated to the UK with commercial flights facilitated by the British Government.
Shabana continues to monitor cases of constituents stranded in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India, and is urging the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to support their repatriation.
You can her letter in full below.
Letter to the Foreign Secretary
Dear Secretary of State,
I am writing regarding British citizens stranded abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I have recently been contacted by a number of constituents stranded in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh who are unable to return to the UK due to the current international crisis, and local law enforcement prohibiting them from leaving their accommodation.
Many of my stranded constituents are vulnerable, elderly and are quickly running out of funds to support an extended stay in a foreign country.
I understand that a limited number of flights have been made available by airlines, but come at an extortionate cost to my constituents. This week, Pakistan International Airlines announced that it was operating flights to Birmingham for British citizens, to later announce that these flights had been cancelled without refunding those who purchased tickets.
Similar stories have been shared from my constituents in India and Bangladesh.
The British Government has a duty of care to ensure the safety and wellbeing of British citizens abroad. The Government has already facilitated the repatriation of British nationals from Peru, with local embassies liaising with commercial airlines and local authorities, it is only right that the same repatriation efforts are extended to British nationals in South Asia.
Please could you outline what action the Government intends to take to ensure British nationals are safely returned to the UK. In particular, please address what pressure the Government could place on countries with national airline carriers that could facilitate emergency flights.
I will continue to liaise directly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the individual cases of my constituents.
Shabana Mahmood MP
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood