EU Commission Decides To Maintain GSP+ Status Of Pakistan


EU Commission decides to maintain GSP+ status of Pakistan

The Commission has said in a statement that it has introduced six new conventions related to providing facility to people with physical disability, tackling climate change and child labour.

ISLAMABAD: (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News-Sept 23rd, 2021) The European Commission has decided to maintain the Generalized Scheme of Preferential Plus (GSP+) status for Pakistan.

The Commission, in a statement, said it has introduced six new conventions related to providing facility to people with physical disability, tackling climate change and child labour.

The Commission, which reviewed the status of several other countries along with Pakistan, said that talks would continue with the EU-Pakistan Joint Commission.

The Regulation is a unilateral trade tool that removes or reduces import duties from products coming into the European Union from vulnerable low-income countries.

Earlier this year in April, the European Union adopted a resolution against Pakistan to review its GSP Plus status.

The resolution, adopted on Thursday, demanded of Pakistan to allow space for religious freedom and urged the EU authorities to review the country’s GSP+ status amid "alarming" number of blasphemy cases.

It said that there has been an alarming increase in accusations of blasphemy online and offline in Pakistan over the past year. "Many of these accusations target human rights defenders, journalists, artists and the most marginalised people in society," it added.

It said that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are increasingly used for personal or political score‑settling in violation of the rights to freedom of religion and belief and of opinion and expression.

Responding to media queries today, Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Chaudhri said, “The discourse in the European Parliament reflects a lack of understanding in the context of blasphemy laws and associated religious sensitivities in Pakistan – and in the wider Muslim world."

"The unwarranted commentary about Pakistan's judicial system and domestic laws are regrettable," he added.

The spokesperson said Pakistan being a parliamentary democracy with a vibrant civil society, free media and independent judiciary, remained fully committed to the promotion and protection of human rights for all its citizens without discrimination. “We are proud of our minorities, who enjoy equal rights and complete protection of fundamental freedoms as enshrined in the Constitution. Judicial and administrative mechanisms and remedies are in place to guard against any human rights violations," he added.

The spokesperson mentioned that Pakistan had played an active role in promoting freedom of religion or belief, tolerance and inter-faith harmony.

At a time of rising Islamophobia and populism, the international community must exhibit a common resolve to fight xenophobia, intolerance and incitement to violence based on religion or belief, and work together to strengthen peaceful co-existence, he stressed.

The spokesperson further said Pakistan and the European Union had multiple mechanisms in place to discuss entire spectrum of bilateral relations, including a dedicated Dialogue on Democracy, Rule of Law, Governance and Human Rights. "We would continue to remain positively engaged with the EU on all issues of mutual interest," he maintained.

Fida Hussnain

Fida Hussnain is a lahore based journalist. He writes on politics, religion, social issues and climate change. He is also a research fellow at University of Gujrat.