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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

50 UK lawmakers query Boris Johnson over Pakistan ‘red list’ journey ban

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  • British parliamentarians wish to know why Pakistan and Bangladesh have been added to UK’s ‘purple checklist’ journey ban.
  • Write letter to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking for proof to point out why these particular nations have been added to the purple checklist.
  • That is the largest intervention but made by the MPs after Pakistan and Bangladesh have been added to a listing of dangerous nations.

LONDON: Round 50 British parliamentarians have requested UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to urgently reply and provides proof on why Pakistan and Bangladesh have been added to the “red list” nations ranging from April 9, 2021.

The letter has been written by parliamentarian Yasmin Qureshi, the chair of the All Events Parliamentary Group on Pakistan (APPG), and signed by parliamentarians from the Labour and Conservative teams. 

That is the largest intervention but made by the MPs after Pakistan and Bangladesh have been added to a listing of dangerous nations and comes quickly after British Pakistani lawyer Barrister Rashid Ahmed introduced that he shall be initiating a authorized problem to the UK authorities for singling out Pakistan.

Learn extra: Asad Umar questions UK’s resolution to incorporate Pakistan in ‘purple checklist’

The letter, handed to this reporter by Qureshi, questions the UK authorities’s resolution to position Pakistan and Bangladesh on the journey “Red List” with the ban coming into pressure at very brief discover at 4am on April 9, 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 1.1 million British Pakistanis and a large number of British Bangladeshis. 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.

“Many UK citizens have travelled to those countries in accordance with the government’s COVID-19 guidelines. The vast majority will have travelled to visit family, including elderly relatives, whom they may not have seen for over a year. They will have already paid for return flights but are now in a position where they will have to pay for new flights in order to return before the ban is put in place. Flight costs are currently around £2,000 per single ticket. Most of the people who have travelled will have paid for return flights priced at around £500 which are now useless.”

The MPs have mentioned that the overwhelming majority of UK residents at present in these nations can have needed to save up for a while to fly to Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Learn extra: Coronavirus: Many Pakistanis lower brief their keep because of UK’s purple checklist restrictions

Most of those that have travelled should not wealthy and even reasonably rich individuals however are working class residents, PM Johnson has been instructed.

The MPs demand within the letter: “We feel that the government should do everything it can to help our constituents left stranded by this decision. They are being put into a position of either being stuck abroad or getting into considerable debt to pay to get home. We are asking for the government to explore charter flight options or to provide financial support for those stranded. If this cannot be done, then measures need to be put in place to extend the cut-off date.”

The MPs have questioned why the UK authorities has not supplied any knowledge to assist the journey ban.

Learn extra: UK provides Pakistan to its ‘purple checklist’ of journey ban nations

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.”

The MPs have requested the PM to answer as to when the subsequent assessment date shall be to take away nations from the purple checklist, in order that constituents could make practical journey plans.

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