Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar on Saturday slammed the United Kingdom for placing Pakistan on its “red list”, saying that the placement raises the “question whether the choice of countries is based on science or foreign policy”. “Every country has a right to take decisions to safeguard the health of their citizens,” said Umar in a tweet.
Every country has a right to take decisions to safeguard the health of their citizens. However, the recent decision by UK govt to add some countries including Pakistan on the red list raises a legitimate question whether choice of countries is based on science or foreign policy pic.twitter.com/BAzaW1Lc8l
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) April 3, 2021
The minister said that the recent decision by Britain to add some countries including Pakistan to the “red list” due to rising coronavirus cases raises the “legitimate question whether choice of countries is based on science or foreign policy”.
On Friday, British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner announced that the UK has added Pakistan to its red list of travel ban countries.
“Red Listing means that only UK and Irish nationals and those with residency rights in the UK will be allowed to travel to the UK if they have been in Pakistan in the 10 days before they arrive,” Turner said in a video message posted on Twitter.
Important travel update: 🇵🇰 will be added to the 🇬🇧’s red list of travel ban countries from 9 April👇 pic.twitter.com/HVRyp9xEzp
— Christian Turner (@CTurnerFCDO) April 2, 2021
The commissioner said passengers seeking to travel to the UK from Pakistan will have to pay for a mandatory quarantine stay at a hotel in the UK.
The measures will come into effect from April 9, 4:00am. The commissioner said direct flights between both countries will continue to operate as usual. “But [their] schedules could change,” Turner said.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Geo News had reported that the UK Government was considering including Pakistan in the high-risk “red list countries” due to the rapid spread of coronavirus in Pakistan.
Well-placed sources told the TV that a high-level meeting between Pakistan and UK government officials had been held where the concerns of the British government regarding the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in Pakistan was raised.
The Pakistani government and medical officials had earlier blamed the rise in cases on a coronavirus variant that was first reported in the UK.
The UK government had informed the Pakistani officials that it was thinking of imposing stricter requirements on Pakistani travellers.
The source said a high-level delegation was scheduled to visit London in this regard, but the plan was cancelled Wednesday evening after the British High Commission officials spoke to senior Pakistani officials and conveyed the position of the UK government.
Thousands have travelled from the UK to Pakistan in recent months as the UK went into a second lockdown. Many of them are still in the country on extended holidays.
British lawmaker opposes the decision
British Member Parliament Naz Shah has opposed the decision to add Pakistan to Britain’s red list of travel ban countries from April 9 and termed it a political decision.
Why aren’t countries which have significant more cases, including the South African variant, not on the red list too? Why #Pakistan and not France which has 10 times more cases. I’ve been raising this for weeks and still no answers from @MattHancock or @DominicRaab ? https://t.co/jsq8VsBfU1 pic.twitter.com/fn39l3V6Z1
— Naz Shah MP 💙 (@NazShahBfd) April 2, 2021
Naz Shah in her letter to Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, said that why France, Germany and India having substantially higher numbers of infections per 100,000 than Pakistan not added red list of travel ban countries.
In a message on Twitter, Naz Shah said why aren’t countries which have significantly more cases, including the South African variant, not on the red list too? Why Pakistan and not France, which has 10 times more cases, on the red list.