ISLAMABAD - Nearly 5,000 British trav­ellers, on 21 special char­tered flights, returned home after yesterday’s flight to Manchester, the British High Commis­sion said yesterday.

The UK government’s chartered flights have been operating since April 22 from destina­tions across Pakistan, in­cluding Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, said the BHC in a statement.

The British High Com­missioner to Paki­stan Dr Christian Turn­er said: “Over the last 6 weeks, our team has worked tirelessly to en­sure that British travel­lers in Pakistan have had the opportunity to re­turn home. Since 4 April, over 25,000 people have flown back to the UK from Pakistan, includ­ing nearly 5,000 on 21 UK Government charter flights.”

He added: “Our deep and close people-to-peo­ple links are one of the great strengths in the re­lationship between UK and Pakistan.

During the holy month of Ramazan, it has been even more important to allow families to be to­gether.”

A team of more than 220 British High Com­mission staff have worked in shifts for nearly two months to support the repatria­tion effort, he said.

Dr Christian Turn­er said: “I would like to thank everyone who has made this possible: the Government of Pakistan, the Civil Aviation Au­thority, Islamabad and Lahore airports, PIA and our partners at Qatar Airways. It has been the best of collaboration and teamwork”.

Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimble­don said: “Since the 20 April, nearly 5,000 Brit­ish travellers in Pakistan have returned to the UK on Government charter flights from across Paki­stan.”

He added: “Commer­cial routes remain open for anyone who wishes to return to the UK go­ing forward and our con­sular team continues to do all we can to support British nationals who re­main in Pakistan.”