- Turner says putting Pakistan on the list is not a political decision, rather the decision is based on data and evidence collected in the UK
- There is no diminishing of the very close ties and affection between the UK and Pakistan: Envoy
(Karachi) British High Commissioner Christian Turner has said that the decision to include Pakistan in the travel Red List is not meant to punish the country and has nothing to do with politics.
In an interview with a private media outlet, Turner said that the red listing will not mean a diminishing of “UK-Pakistan Dosti.” “You accept my headline that this is not political. There is no diminishing of the very close ties and affection between the UK and Pakistan and the UK-Pak dosti,” he remarked.
He said putting Pakistan on the list is not a political decision, rather the decision is based on data and evidence collected in the UK.
Giving reasons for placing Pakistan on the Red List, the British High Commissioner said that Pakistan is the largest single source of international air travelers into the UK in March. Secondly, Covid positivity amongst those travelers from Pakistan was high.
“Thirdly, our testing showed that some variants of concerns were those variants that we are worried about but were present in passengers from Pakistan including the South African one,” he mentioned.
Turner highlighted that the decision to place any country on the red list had nothing to do with a Covid situation in a country.
The envoy, however, did not give any timeline regarding the lifting of the ban on Pakistan.
Earlier, the British High Commissioner announced that the UK has added Pakistan to its Red List of travel ban countries.
"Red Listing means that the only UK and Irish nationals and those with residency rights in the UK will be allowed to travel to the UK if they have been in Pakistan in the 10 days before they arrive," Turner said in a video message posted on Twitter.
The commissioner said passengers seeking to travel to the UK from Pakistan will have to pay for a mandatory quarantine stay at a hotel in the UK. The measures came into effect on April 9.
Later, several British MPs criticized the UK government for imposing travel restrictions on Pakistan in wake of COVID-19 infections, saying the move is discriminatory.
They said that Pakistan was added to the Red List despite having the lowest number of coronavirus cases as compared to India, France, and Germany.