‘Indophile’: Imran Khan’s minister on UK allowing flights from India, but not from Pakistan

The United Kingdom is playing discriminatory politics against Pakistan on Covid as the UK government has a strong presence of Indophiles, Pakistan’s human rights minister Shireen Mazari said. Human rights minister of Imran Khan’s cabinet Shireen Mazari said UK’s conservative government has a strong presence of Indophiles. (REUTERS)

 

The issue of the United Kingdom allowing flights from India while barring the same from Pakistan has snowballed into a bigger India-Pakistan issue as Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant Dr Faisal Sultan has written to UK health secretary Sajid Javid comparing Pakistan’s Covid situation with other countries, including India. Pakistan’s human rights minister Shireen Mazari took to Twitter to share Dr Sultan’s response and termed UK’s approach to India and Pakistan as ‘partial’. “UK’s Conservative govt with a strong Indophiles’ presence playing discriminatory politics against Pakistan on Covid,” the minister wrote.

Both India and Pakistan were on the red list of the United Kingdom till the first week of August which means no passengers from these two countries were allowed in the UK. The restrictions were imposed in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic. From August 8, India has been moved to the amber list allowing India flyers to enter the United Kingdom.

Pakistan minister Fawad Chaudhry had tweeted an online petition that calls for removing Pakistan from the red list.

Comparing Pakistan’s Covid situation with that of India, Iran and Iraq, Dr Faisal said that Pakistan’s daily cases per million people (21.18) are the lowest in the region. In his statement, he said India’s daily cases per million people is 28.84, while the figure for Iran and Iraq are 421.98 and 276.19, respectively.

The UK government in its statement on why it kept Pakistan on the red list said, “In Pakistan, the combination of a deteriorating epidemiological situation, combined with low testing rates and limited genomic surveillance, presents a high risk that an outbreak of a new variant, or existing VoC, will not be identified before it is imported to the UK.” It also said the current trajectory of the pandemic in Pakistan is also of particular concern. In the past 7 days, the incidence of cases in Pakistan has increased by 87 per cent on the previous week (19-25 July).

“Pakistan has no interest in allowing those of its nationals who pose a health risk to other societies to travel abroad, any more than allowing potential threats to public health entry within its jurisdiction,” Dr Faisal wrote in reply.

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