Now he fears he will be forced to return to Nepal because he and his family are struggling on his annual army pension of £1,584. His lawyer believes he will certainly die if forced to return to Nepal because of the standard of Nepalese medical care. Pun suffered a mild stroke last Sunday and is recovering in hospital. Pun was awarded the VC after single-handedly storming Japanese machine-gun positions during the Second World War. Despite his valour, he was barred from Britain because officials concluded that he did not have 'strong ties with the UK'. The elderly Gurkha has heart problems, asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure and requires daily medication which is not always available in Nepal.
Gordon Brown was made aware of Pun's plight when they met three weeks ago. The Gurkha told him he was struggling to support his wife and son at their home in Hounslow, west London. Pun’s lawyer, Martin Howe, has contacted Treasury solicitors, but no increase has been forthcoming. Pun receives £132 a month, around a quarter of the average British army pension. In addition, he receives £1,500 a year as a Victoria Cross winner. Howe said: 'Whether he can stay here depends on financial considerations and, sadly, after just arriving he might be forced to leave. Gurkhas are living on pensions paid on the basis they are in the 12th-poorest country, Nepal, while the reality is Pun is living in the fourth-richest economy.
His plight coincides this week with the beginning of the first of 2,000 cases of former Gurkhas, many of them also decorated and conflict veterans, appealing against the government's decision to prevent them from living in Britain. Among the cases to be heard this week is that of Corporal Gyanendra Rai, a decorated Falklands hero who suffered terrible injuries at Bluff Cove. Immigration officials fear the 51-year-old will try to stay here if he is granted a visitor's visa for specialised NHS treatment. The ex-machine gunner and father-of-five is in constant pain after his back was hit by shrapnel. Lance-Corporal Birendra Man Shrestha served in the 1991 Gulf War and was decorated three times for bravery.
'These people spilt their blood and guts for Britain,' added Howe. 'They were willing to die for us, but they are now not good enough for us to offer them a place to live.' Most Gurkha visa applicants are refused, despite paying £500 in Nepal to apply. Howe cited one case involving the winner of a Military Cross who was paralysed serving in the armed forces: 'He has not even applied for a visa to help his treatment because he cannot afford it.'
What can you say? I say let them come.