Thursday Aug 05, 2021
LONDON: All Parties Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Pakistan chief Yasmin Qureshi and MP for Bradford West, Naz Shah, slammed the British government for keeping Pakistan on the red list and removing India, Qatar, and other countries from it.
The British government shifted India, UAE, Bahrain and Qatar from the red to amber list but ignored Pakistan. The amber travel list means that returnees can quarantine at home, rather than in a hotel.
British lawmakers Yasmin Qureshi and MP for Bradford West Naz Shah were of the view that coronavirus rates in Pakistan were averaging around 4,500 per day, around five times lower than the United Kingdom but in India, where the delta variant emerged and precipitated Britain’s third wave, cases are at around 40,000 per day.
Pakistan has done relatively well compared to its neighbours and has managed to do this whilst avoiding a lockdown, Yasmin Qureshi added.
The Chair of the APPG Pakistan said, “I am dismayed at the government’s decision to keep Pakistan on the travel red list whilst removing other countries in the Middle East and South Asia region. Pakistan has no variant of concern reported and cases remain relatively low when compared with India and the UK yet is punished unnecessarily.”
“These changes point to one thing and one thing only – government politicking. The government has opted to remove India now to best prepare them for trade negotiations and is not based on data nor science.”
She said, “These travel restrictions are wreaking havoc with people across the United Kingdom. The Pakistani diaspora totals around 1.1mn in the UK and I have been inundated with correspondence which details students unable to access their courses because of punitive and extortionate quarantine costs and children unable to see their often sick parents and grandparents.”
Labour MP for Bradford West Naz Shah said, “The last time this govt favoured political choices rather than science and risked our nation’s Covid efforts, it failed to place India on the Red list.”
“That led to the Delta Variant becoming the most prominent Covid variant in the UK. Whilst families have been forced away from loved ones for months, it is unacceptable for decisions to be made in such ways,” she added.