UK's decision to give favours to India despite a worsening Covid situation draws reaction
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."
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".
How can UK govt rationally place India on Amber list while keeping Pakistan on Red List? No scientific reason for this discrimination. Only politics coming into play again -- UK cabinet showing clear political proclivity towards India. Unfortunate indeed. @CTurnerFCDO pic.twitter.com/2P2W3LDDu0— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) August 5, 2021
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.
Petition: Remove Pakistan from red list for travel https://t.co/Xo8yzcaU3w— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) August 5, 2021
KARACHI - Following are the foreign currency exchange rates for US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound Sterling, U.A.E. Dirham, European Euro, and other foreign currencies in Pakistan open market on January 26, 2023 (Thursday).
Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
|UK Pound Sterling||GBP||311||314|
|Hong Kong Dollar||HKD||29.52||29.87|
|New Zealand Dollar||NZD||148.33||149.53|
KARACHI – The price of a single tola of 24-karat gold in Pakistan is Rs190,900 on Thursday. The price of 10 grams of 24k gold was recorded at Rs163,670.
Likewise, 10 grams of 22k gold were being traded for Rs150,300 while a single tola of 22-karat gold was being sold at Rs 173,200.
Note: The gold rate in Pakistan is fluctuating according to the international market so the price is never been fixed. The below rates are provided by local gold markets and Sarafa Markets of different cities.
|Lahore||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Karachi||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Islamabad||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Peshawar||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Quetta||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Sialkot||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Attock||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Gujranwala||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Jehlum||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Multan||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Bahawalpur||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Gujrat||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Nawabshah||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Chakwal||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Hyderabad||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Nowshehra||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Sargodha||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Faisalabad||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|
|Mirpur||PKR 190,900||PKR 2,100|