Published in the Daily Mail on 05 June 2007.
The British immigration system could hardly be described as a model of justice or consistency. And no recent case has exposed the current shambles, mismanagement and double-standards more graphically than the bizarre initial decision by the Home Office to refuse an elderly Gurkha war hero the right to live in this country.
Tul Bahadur Pun, now 84 years old, fought with immense gallantry for Britain during World War II, winning the Victoria Cross for an act of astonishing courage against the Japanese in Burma. During a battle in June 1944, having seen almost all his comrades in his section killed, he stormed an enemy gun position showing bravery that was ‘most inspiring and beyond praise’, according to his citation.
Yet when he recently applied for the right to live in Britain, partly because he wanted treatment for serious medical problems, he was refused an entry via. To the Home Office bureaucrats, his heroic war record seemed to count for nothing.
Officials said that Tul Bahadur Pun had failed to demonstrate ‘strong ties with the UK’. It is difficult to know what stronger demonstration of loyalty exists than the willingness to put one’s life at risk in service of a country.