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Pakistan urges Canada to reconsider suspension of flights

  • Pakistan High Commissioner says the country must not be bracketed with Covid-hit India, as it has managed the pandemic well due to its strategy of smart lockdowns.
Published April 24, 2021

Pakistan High Commissioner to Canada, Raza Bashir Tarar, has urged the Canadian government to reconsider its decision of suspending all passenger flights from Pakistan for 30 days.

In a letter to the Canadian Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, Mr. Raza Bashir drew attention to the fact that, like all other countries, Pakistan too had been facing the pandemic, but it had managed to handle it well, thanks to its strategic smart lockdowns.

He maintained that Pakistan’s Covid related positive cases were 5,870 on Friday but in its announcement, Canada had placed Pakistan in the same bracket as a country that had recorded over 0.33 million cases on the same day, a clear reference to India where the second Covid-19 outbreak is running rampant.

India is reeling with rampaging the second wave of the pandemic, hitting a rate of one Covid death in just under every four minutes in Delhi. The country reported 2,624 deaths during the last 24 hours, the highest single-day record since the start of the pandemic.

The high commissioner emphasized that, unlike India, Pakistan hasn’t reported any new variant of COVID-19, and yet the Health Minister, Patty Hajdu said that “1.8 percent cases detected so far are in travelers, but that eliminating direct travels from both India and Pakistan is intended to give health officials time to sequence and better understand the variant first detected in India.”

Tarar maintained that the decision of barring flights from Pakistan depicted a lack of understanding of the dynamics in South Asia.

“It [the decision] ignores the fact that both trains and flights are not operational between the two countries… so the ban on flights from Pakistan because a new variant has developed in another country whose population has no possibility of contact with Pakistan, defies logic.”

The high commissioner maintained that Pakistan has a robust testing mechanism and its national flag carrier, PIA, only accepts results from the best and well-reputed laboratories and verifies them by matching with the barcode on every result sheet.

In view of all these facts, he requested the Canadian government to reconsider its decision of travel ban and resume flight operations to and from Pakistan.


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