ISLAMABAD          -          The British Pakistani diaspora has strongly denounced the media campaign giving a false impression that the travel of people from Pakistan has had a significant contribu­tory effect on the high COVID-19 death toll in the United Kingdom.

Professionals from the top UK universities and research insti­tutes in a statement rejected the recent misleading article pub­lished on June 26 in the Daily Telegraph and later picked up by The Sun and The Daily Mail, en­titled ‘Exclusive: Half of UK’s im­ported Covid-19 infections are from Pakistan’.

Chairman UPSIGN and Profes­sor at University College London Jawwad A. Darr, Deputy Chair UPSIGN and Professor at Lan­caster university Prof Ihtesham Rehman, Prof Tariq Butt from University of Swansea), Senior Lecturer at University of Shef­field Dr Parveen Ali, UPSIGN Co-lead Agriculture, and Innovation Manager Rothamsted Research Dr Khalid Mahmood, Manager UCL Madiha and Executive Di­rector Global Educational Mat­ters and President PTI Wales Riaz Hassan jointly signed the response.

The professionals mentioned that the news story referred to a purported modest 30 import­ed cases detected from Pakistani travelers since June 4th, com­pared to a staggering 311,000 confirmed cases in UK with COV­ID-19 to date.

In fact, as of May 7th, the UK death toll was a staggering 50 times that of Pakistan, they said in the statement.

“The Telegraph’s fake news headline, seeks to counter the real facts that most early infec­tions in the UK (which have ul­timately contributed to the high UK death toll), actually came from Europe, well before June,” the British Pakistanis said.

It was stressed that the high­est number of cases reported in the UK were linked with peo­ple travelling from countries such as Spain (more than 33%), France (more than 28%) and It­aly (14%). Pakistan was in fact not even considered notable in these figures.

The representatives of Paki­stani diaspora pointed out that whilst the numbers of infec­tions and deaths in Pakistan had alarmingly risen recently, there was absolutely no scientific or other basis for travelers from Pa­kistan being responsible for the large number of deaths or signif­icant spreading of COVID-19 in the UK.

They emphasized that “writ­ing of misleading sensationalist headlines such as that in the Tel­egraph, clearly has racist under­tones and will create a false nar­rative attributing the existence of colonial links for the UK’s dire COVID-19 situation.”

The British Pakistani profes­sionals stressed that such kind of constant bashing of minority groups must stop.