Minister blasts UK govt for keeping Pakistan on ‘red list’

By: 24 News      Published: 04:11 PM, 9 Aug, 2021
Minister blasts UK govt for keeping Pakistan on ‘red list’

The Pakistani authorities have questioned the sagacity of the British government decision to keep Pakistan on its ‘red list’ and move India where the Covid-19 positivity ratio is higher than Pakistan to the ‘amber list’ refuting the UK government assertion that the National Command and Operation Centre did not provide it data, reported 24NewsHD TV channel. 

The UK government introduced the traffic light system for international travel with countries categorized as green, amber and red, with different rules for quarantine to deter the emergence of coronavirus variants from overseas travellers. 

The low-risk countries come in green light and no isolation is required when the travellers enter the UK from theses countries; ‘amber list’ includes countries which pose moderate risk and require quarantine at home but the travellers who reach the UK from ‘red list’ countries are bound to spend 10 days in isolation in a hotel after paying 2,250 pounds as hotel quarantine cost. 

After the emergence of the Delta variant in India in the first quarter of 2021, the British government put Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and several other South Asian and Gulf countries on the ‘red list’ in April this year. 

However, in its recent travel advisory, the UK government moved India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE from ‘red list’ to ‘amber list’ from August 8 but left Pakistan on its ‘red list’. 

This move of the British government has raised many an eyebrow as many UK and Pakistani lawmakers criticized the British government decision to keep Pakistan on the ‘red list’ and extricate India moving it to the ‘amber’ list despite the fact that India still has a higher infectivity rate as compared to Pakistan

Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said that the British government had never asked for data on the Covid situation, adding that the data was publicly available as NCOC had the most centralised and daily updated data bases anywhere and data was shared with UK High Commission. 

In her tweet on Monday, Shireen Mazari said: “Ridiculous! UK government, dominated by Indophiles and despite globally documented India's continuing disastrous handling of Covid pandemic, moved India to Amber List but keeps Pakistan on Red; then under pressure from Opposition MPs gives feeble excuse Pakistan didn't share data.”

“Fact is UK govt never asked for data but it is publicly available as NCOC has the most centralised and daily updated data bases anywhere and data shared with UK High Commission. Earlier, the UK government had given another excuse - that more Pakistani passengers than Indians tested positive! Shifting goalposts!”

Many British Pakistani MPs have written protesting letters to the UK government resenting the decision, terming it politically motivated. 

However, sources informed that a British minister told a UK parliamentarian that neither Pakistan provided any data on the coronavirus epidemic nor did it do any lobbying.

On Friday, NCOC head Asad Umar and Special Assistant to PM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan held a zoom meeting with British Pakistani MPs. 

The five British MPs divulged that the Pakistani authorities had been informed about the British government stance regarding the non-availability of data by Pakistan. The British Minister and MPs requested anonymity. 

According to the DFT, the decision to keep Pakistan on the red list was taken on the recommendation of the Joint Bio Security Centre. Sixty other countries are also on the red list

Reporter Asad Ali Malik