The Ishrat Made in China cast and crew, made it safely back to Pakistan, but that's where things started getting more difficult for them, so they say.

According to Sanam Saeed and Shamoon Abbasi, the quarantine arrangements have been less than ideal since their return on April 14.

Said Saeed, "Embassy assured people upon arrival that the government will accommodate us free of cost while we wait two days for test and results."

Shamoon Abbasi clarified that "we were told that we will be staying in Ramada hotel (which we didn't ask or demanded)."

Both revealed that they were soon told they would have to stay for a week and must pay for all of it. So far, they have not been tested.

Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Mohammad Hamza Shafqaat has now responded to the statements, telling Dawn that the "actors have not paid a penny" so far.

"For 2000 passengers, Rs 5000 per passenger was spent on transport, food and rent of hotel. It amounts to Rs 1 crore per day."

He said that 30,000 more passengers were expected to come from different countries and that those "stranded were brought and the government paid for them".

The DC also revealed that there are those who are "coming on their own will."

"They signed the forms. They have to pay subsidized rates of food, transport and hotel... They are rich people and they can afford these minor expenses."

He added, "Government can't spend Rs 4 billion for 30,000 passengers. Passengers who are willingly coming from abroad and are paying expensive tickets can at least pay this amount for their own protection and for saving others in Pakistan."

Under a new SOP, passengers opting to be quarantined in hotels will pay for all the expenses while those unable to afford will be shifted to any government facility such as the quarantine centre at Haji camp where their food and accommodation will be free.

Under the new SOP, all positive passengers will be retained at quarantine facility for 14 days until the results of their two consecutive tests separated by a gap of 24 hour come out as negative. However, for many in quarantine, the concern is that they haven't been tested yet.

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