LONDON: Around 50 British parliamentarians have asked Prime Minister Boris Johnson to urgently answer with full data and evidence to why Pakistan has been added to the “Red List” countries starting from 9th of April 2021.
The letter has been written by Yasmin Qureshi MP, Chair of the All Parties Parliamentary Group on Pakistan (APPG), and signed by parliamentarians from Labour and Conservatives. This is the biggest intervention yet made by the MPs after Pakistan was added in the list of risky countries and comes soon after British Pakistani lawyer Barrister Rashid Ahmed announced that he will be initiating a proper legal challenge to the UK government for singling out Pakistan.
The letter questions the UK Government’s decision to place Pakistan on the travel “red list” with the ban coming into force at very short notice at 4am on 9 April 2021.
It says: “The placing of these countries on the red list will have a huge impact on many UK residents. The UK has over 1.1m British Pakistanis in the UK. Whilst we support measures where there is a clear need to act to protect the UK in relation to COVID-19, we have major concerns about the way this plan has been implemented without providing clear evidence for that decision.
The MPs have questioned why the UK government has not provided any data to support the travel ban. The letter says: “We have major concerns about the lack of available data and evidential and scientific reasoning which have been used to put these countries on the red list. Based on available data, many other countries not on the red list have more positive COVID tests per 100,000 people than Pakistan. The current rate of infection in Pakistan is also reportedly lower than the UK. We would be grateful if the full data and evidence can be provided to show why these specific countries have been added to the red list and provide an urgent clarification of the decision-making process. We would also like to know if the Government has a roadmap of how countries are added and removed from the red list to see the consistency of how this is applied.”