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British MPs slam Boris govt over biased policy towards Pakistan

UK's decision to give favours to India despite a worsening Covid situation draws reaction

09:35 PM | 5 Aug, 2021
British MPs slam Boris govt over biased policy towards Pakistan

British lawmakers on Thursday criticised their own government for its biased policy towards Pakistan.

They slammed the British government's "callous" decision to keep Pakistan on the "red list" for international travel and promote India to the "amber list" despite a worsening Covid-19 situation amid the increasing infections caused by the Delta variant.

The United Kingdom operates a "traffic light" system for international travel, with low-risk countries rated green for quarantine-free travel, medium risk countries rated amber, and red countries requiring arrivals to spend 10 days in isolation in a hotel.

The United Kingdom placed Pakistan on the red list in early April and then India on April 19 due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases and emergence of the Delta variant.

According to the updated travel listings issued by the British government, India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will be moved to the amber list from August 8 (Sunday).

Reacting to the British government’s biased policy, Bradford West MP Naz Shah said she was "surprised" at the move. She said it was not the first time the UK had exhibited "callous behaviour" in managing its quarantine traffic light system.

She questioned why Pakistan was still on the red list when its seven-day infection was 14 per 100,000 people compared to India's 20 per 100,000 and "well below the vast majority of amber list destinations".

"The last time this government favoured political choices rather than science and risked our nation's Covid efforts, it failed to place India on the red list," she said. "That led to the Delta variant becoming the most prominent Covid variant in the UK."

Terming the decision "unacceptable", she vowed to raise the issue further.

Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi, too, noted that Pakistan remained on the red list despite "not having any variants of concern".

She said she had questioned the government and made efforts to address the issue but nothing came of it.

"The government is seeking to penalise Pakistan in favour of potential economic benefit," she said. "This is clear and blatant discrimination towards Pakistan."

"To add insult to injury, the hotel quarantine cost is set to increase by between £450-£800, to a total of £2,200," she tweeted.

She said she was writing a letter to Britain's transport minister, Grant Shapps, on the issue.

Labour MP for Luton North, Sawah Owen, also said it was difficult to understand the reasoning behind the latest changes.

"When you see figures like this, Tory ministers have a lot of explaining to do as to why India is going amber yet Pakistan and other countries remain red," she said.

She tweeted, "Decisions taken in isolation with no scrutiny are never good for the people we seek to represent. These decisions have big health [and] personal consequences."

‘British government targeting Pakistan’

Pakistani Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari blasted the British government's decision and accused it of "playing politics" and targeting Pakistan.

"I had stated in April this year that [the] UK [government] was playing politics on Covid restrictions when they put Pakistan on [the] red list two weeks before India despite the Covid management disaster in India as opposed to Pakistan's good management raised internationally," she said.

Posting a mortality comparison in the week leading up to August 1 between the two countries, she said "there was no scientific reason for this discrimination".

"Only politics coming into play again — UK cabinet showing clear political proclivity towards India. Unfortunate indeed," she tweeted.

Mazari said the political discrimination against Pakistan was clear and "unacceptable" considering the country's Covid-19 strategy had been praised by the UN, WHO and other international organisations compared to "India's disastrous handling of their Covid pandemic".

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry tweeted an online petition which calls upon the British government to remove Pakistan from the red list. Once the petition gets the required 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in the UK parliament, the document states.

Daily Pakistan Global Web Desk

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Pakistani rupee rate against US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Riyal - Check 14 April forex rates

Pakistani currency remains unchanged against US dollar and other currencies in open market on April 14, 2024.

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

On Sunday, the US dollar was being quoted at 277.5 for buying and 280.5 for selling.

Euro was quoted at 299.95 for buying and 302.9 for selling while British Pound stands at 349.5 for buying, and 353 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.45 and Saudi Riyal's new rates was at 73.30. 

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 14 April 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 08:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.5 280.5
Euro EUR 299.95 302.9
UK Pound Sterling GBP 349.5 353
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.45
 
76.2
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.3 74.05
Australian Dollar AUD 182.7 184.5
Bahrain Dinar BHD 739.38 747.38
Canadian Dollar CAD 204 206.2
China Yuan CNY 38.45 38.85
Danish Krone DKK 40.45 40.85
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.57 35.92
Indian Rupee INR 3.33 3.44
Japanese Yen JPY 1.86
 
1.94
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 903.91 912.91
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.92 59.52
New Zealand Dollar NZD 167.63 169.63
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.38 25.68
Omani Riyal OMR 722.1 730.1
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.35 77.05
Singapore Dollar SGD 206 208
Swedish Korona SEK 25.72 26.02
Swiss Franc CHF 307.11 309.61
Thai Bhat THB 7.61 7.76

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