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"Choice of countries is based on science or foreign policy?" Umar questions UK's decision to add Pakistan on ‘red list’

Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar has said that the United Kingdom’s decision to include Pakistan on the red list raises a legitimate question of whether the choice of countries is based on science or foreign policy.

On Friday, the UK government put Pakistan on the red list of countries effective from April 9.

“Red Listing means that 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,” British High Commissioner Christian Turner said in a video statement.

The United Kingdom had said that the decision to add Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya Philippines to the list was based on advice from public health experts as well as scientific data.

In a tweet today, the planning minister said that every country has a right to take decisions to safeguard the health of their citizens. “However, the recent decision by UK govt to add some countries including Pakistan on the red list raises a legitimate question whether choice of countries is based on science or foreign policy,” he tweeted.

Umar also shared a letter by British MP Naz Shah to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab dated March 30. In the letter, Shah writes that he has a large Pakistani diaspora within his constituency which is why he is writing to simply ask, what scientific data is any decision being led by.

“It must also be noted that the South African variant isn’t a concern in Pakistan whereas this isn’t the case for example in France and other countries. This begs the question why hasn’t the government extended the red list to France, Germany, and India?” Shah asked in the letter.

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