Qureshi urges UK to review decision to place Pakistan on travel ‘red list’

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has expressed concern with the United Kingdom for keeping Pakistan on its ‘red list’ for travel.
During a telephonic conversation with UK’s First Secretary of State Dominic Raab, Qureshi expressed concern over the United Kingdom’s continued requirement for Pakistani nationals to undergo a costly 10-day hotel quarantine by retaining their country on its “red list”, the Foreign Office said in a statement while providing details of the conversation between the two officials.
He noted that the Covid-19 situation in Pakistan has improved and urged the UK government to reconsider its decision.
Both the officials discussed the prevailing situation in Afghanistan. The foreign minister condemned the recent suicide attack near the Kabul airport on Thursday while pointing out that an inclusive political settlement is the best way forward in the war-battered country.
“The foreign minister highlighted Pakistan’s efforts in facilitating evacuation of diplomatic personnel and staff of international organizations and others, including British nationals, and assured Pakistan’s continued support in this context,” the statement added.
The UK foreign secretary thanked Pakistan for its support and facilitation. The two officials also agreed to remain in close contact with each other.
The UK authorities placed Pakistan and India on its red list of countries in April due to a surge in Covid-19 delta variant cases, though India was later upgraded to the “amber list” and its nationals are now required to provide proof of vaccination and negative virus test results after their arrival in the UK.
Earlier, Pakistan’s high commission in London expressed its “disappointment” over Britain’s decision to retain Pakistan’s name on the list in the recent travel update on Thursday.
SAPM Dr Faisal Sultan had already sent a letter to UK officials earlier this month, showing that his country had the lowest daily cases, daily deaths, test positivity and total mortality in the whole region.
Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar has questioned Britain’s decision to place four more nations, including Pakistan, on the “red list” of countries effective April 9.
“Every country has a right to take decisions to safeguard the health of their citizens. However, the recent decision by the UK government to add some countries, including Pakistan, on the ‘red list’ raises a legitimate question whether the choice of countries is based on science or foreign policy,” he said. – TLTP

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