ISLAMABAD – Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday shared deep concerns with British counterpart Dominic Raab over the UK’s decision to retain Pakistan on its travel red list.
Qureshi raised the matter during a delegation level meeting with the UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs, who is in Pakistan on two-day long visit.
➖Shared with FS Raab our deep concern on decision to retain Pakistan on the Red List
and urged for a review of this decision
➖We agreed to hold the next round of Enhanced Strategic Dialogue at the earliest in Islamabad. pic.twitter.com/9zcxWbKQQv
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) September 3, 2021
The foreign minister has urged the UK to review its decision.
Last week, the British government decided to keep Pakistan on the travel red list as it updated its travel advisory for countries from where travellers are not allowed to enter the United Kingdom.
A leaked letter by Britain’s health minister revealed that the Pakistan has been retained on red list because the true number of COVID-19 cases is likely to be much higher than reported across the South Asian country.
In the letter, Britain’s Health Minister Lord James Nicholas Bethell and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Innovation from the Department of Health and Social Care explained in detail that Pakistan’s testing and sequencing rates are relatively low (1.8 per 1,000 over the last seven days) and lower testing and sequencing mean it is not possible to know the full genomic makeup of their current wave. Therefore, they said that the true number of cases is likely to be much higher than reported.
Pakistan’s Extensive Support in Afghanistan Evacuation
FM Qureshi further said, “We agreed to hold the next round of Enhanced Strategic Dialogue at the earliest in Islamabad”.
He also shared with Raab Pakistan’s extensive support in the evacuation of personnel from Afghanistan including British nationals.
Pakistan has to date facilitated evacuation of over 10,000 people across 30 countries and international organisations. “We will continue to help,” he said.
The international community must remain engaged, he said, adding that it is essential to provide humanitarian assistance and economic support to Afghanistan.
“Pakistan’s policy is clear: we support a unified, sovereign & prosperous #Afghanistan. An inclusive political settlement is essential for sustainable peace,” the foreign minister highlighted.