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UK is making ‘feeble excuse’ about Pakistan's Covid data: Shireen Mazari

09 اگست 2021
The federal minister criticized the British government for “shifting goalposts”. File photo
The federal minister criticized the British government for “shifting goalposts”. File photo

Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari slammed the UK government for making “feeble excuse” under pressure by opposition lawmakers about Pakistan not providing them with its Covid data, adding the country never asked for the information.

Taking to Twitter in response to a report by The News published on Monday, the federal minister said: “It [the data] is publicly available as NCOC [the National Command and Operation Centre] has the most centralized and daily updated data bases anywhere.”

She further said the data has been shared with the UK High Commission in Islamabad.

The federal minister also criticized the British government for “shifting goalposts”, saying the UK government had given another excuse earlier that more Pakistani passengers than Indians tested positive for the virus.

The issue resurfaced on Sunday as the British government moved India from its red list to amber, while Pakistan remains on red list,.

This means Pakistani travelers going to the UK must quarantine for 10 days in a hotel. Also, the British government has raised the charges of the stay from £1,750 to £2,285, effective August 12.

According to a report published in the UK’s The Independent on Saturday, Pakistan has been added to the red list to “protect public health”.

“The government has made it consistently clear it will take decisive action, if necessary, to contain the virus,” The Department of Health and Social Care said in response to a petition demanding that Pakistan be taken off the high-risk list.

On Saturday, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Initiatives Asad Umar and SAPM Faisal Sultan had a virtual meeting with five UK MPs regarding continuation of Pakistan’s status on the red list.

Taking to Twitter, Umar, who is also chair of the NCOC, said he had shared data regarding Covid surveillance with the British lawmakers and explained the country’s strategy for Covid response.

“[I] Will engage with [the] UK govt [government] to try and ensure that red list decisions are based on science not politics,” he said.

While talking to Geo, a British MP said the minister had shared required information sheets with the lawmakers at the end of the meeting and they urged Pakistani officials to share the documents with the UK government and run effective lobbying, according to The News report.

In a message on Twitter, UK MP Lord Wajid Khan, who was also present in the meeting, termed the UK decision based on politics while ignoring “science, data and logic”.

Earlier, the UK lawmakers vowed to raise the issue related to Pakistani travelers.

The UK government had placed Pakistan and India on its red list in early April, due to a surge in Covid cases and the emergence of Delta variant in New Delhi.

The passengers travelling from the category of low-risk countries to the UK are allowed quarantine-free travel.

Now the traveling restrictions for New Delhi have been eased and travelers have to take a Covid test three days before departure from India and book in advance for two Covid tests to be taken upon arrival in Britain as well as complete a passenger locator form on arrival, reported The Hindustan Times.