The British government decided to keep Pakistan on the travel red list after updating its travel advisory, Thursday. UK’s decision to keep Pakistan on the red list disappointed officials and the population alike.
Pakistan remains on the list despite weeks of lobbying by the Pakistan High Commission and British Pakistani MPs. They urged the UK government to review Pakistan’s position. However, the UK government showed no change for Pakistan.
Reports said that the British officials reviewed three major factors – genomic surveillance capability, transmission risk, and variants of concern – to take the decision.
To consider removing Pakistan from the red list, UK ministers need satisfaction that the risk of variants of concern being imported into the UK has been significantly reduced.
Earlier this month, the UK revised its travel advisory. It allowed passengers from India, Qatar, and other countries but it did not lift the ban on Pakistan. This sparked outrage as people, including officials, accused the UK of favoring foreign policy.
According to them, this is prejudice against Pakistan. The country has managed its Covid situation comparatively better than India, yet it is on the red list. Therefore, Pakistan made efforts to urge the UK government to review its decision.
Had a session with some UK MP's regarding continuation of Pakistan on the red list. Shared data regarding covid disease surveillance and explained Pak strategy for covid response. Will engage with UK govt to try and ensure that red list decisions are based on science not politics pic.twitter.com/yn1qgHmMyW
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) August 7, 2021
Twitter response to UK’s recent decision
As the UK announced its decision yesterday to keep Pakistan on the red list, Twitteratis and officials voiced their anger and disappointment.
They accused the UK of playing politics and having double standards. According to netizens, if Pakistan is good enough to evacuate people from Afghanistan, then it should also be good enough for the UK to allow Pakistan landing rights.
PIA/Pakistan good enough to evacuate British people from Afghanistan but not good enough to be allowed landing rights in 🇬🇧 or for 🇵🇰 to be taken off red list 😡😡😡. Is it bad negotiation skills by Pakistanis or brown man deference?
— Najma Minhas (@MinhasNajma) August 26, 2021
Furthermore, netizens also wondered whether UK’s decision to continue keeping Pakistan on the red list due to the country’s weak negotiation skills.