Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan will explain Pakistan’s coronavirus testing mechanism to British scientists this week so that the country could be removed from UK’s “Red List” countries.

This was stated by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday during his post-cabinet meeting media briefing in Islamabad.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had spoken to his British counterpart Boris Johnson, who believed that deliberations should be held over the testing mechanism in Pakistan.

He said Islamabad is putting in all efforts to have Pakistan out of UK’s Red List as it affects Pakistanis.

The British government retained Pakistan in the Red List in its latest review of the list of countries who are banned to travel to UK due to inept arrangements against coronavirus.

The British government said that it kept Pakistan on the travel ban red list because the true number of COVID-19 cases are likely much higher than reported across the country, a leaked letter written by Britain’s health minister revealed.

Fawad said expressed the hope for peace to prevail in Afghanistan.

The United States has pulled out its troops from Afghanistan a day before the August 31 deadline.

The information minister wished for the “sad tales” of the Afghan people to come to an end, as he promised on behalf of Pakistan that it would do all it can to provide relief to them.

Fawad highlighted Pakistan’s role in evacuations from Afghanistan and said 10,302 people belonging to the NATO were brought to Islamabad and 9,032 of them have departed to their respective countries.

“As many as 1,229 people who came from Afghanistan are present in Pakistan and they will leave within a day or two,” he said, adding that of them, 545 are Afghan nationals, while 684 are foreigners.

The information minister said that of the 155 evacuees from the US, only 42 are still in Pakistan.

Ten thousand people have made their way to Pakistan via the Chaman border, the information minister said, adding that “all American troops will soon leave Pakistan”.

“Pakistan will help those who wish to leave Afghanistan,” he said.

About coronavirus pandemic, Fawad said that the federal cabinet wanted to make the COVID-19 booster shot, which currently costs Rs1,270, free for labourers.

The cabinet has decided to start vaccinating people aged 17 and below in stages, he said, while praising the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) for Pakistan’s response to the virus and its roll-out of vaccines.

About the opposition alliance PDM’s latest moves, the information minister said it “will strike a deal with the devil if they have to”, possibly calling the PPP devil.

He said that the government was still ready to talk about electoral reforms with the Opposition after the PDM rejected them.

He also rejected PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif’s idea of national government to solve issues being faced by the country.

The information minister said: “The solution to Pakistan’s problems is democracy, accepting the majority’s decision and implementation of law. If the law is acted upon then Shehbaz Sharif will be in Adiala jail instead of Mazar-i-Quaid.”


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