ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will chair an important meeting comprising senior ministers today (Monday) to discuss the European Parliament’s move to seek a review of Pakistan’s GSP Plus status.
The European Parliament had adopted the resolution on Thursday, calling for a review of the GSP Plus status granted to Pakistan, saying that it has been observed that laws (that it said were discriminatory) towards minorities and fundamental rights, were on the rise.
The resolution was presented by Renew Europe, a liberal, pro-European political group of the European Parliament. It was adopted with a majority of 681 votes against six.
The prime minister will hold consultations over the development with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, his commerce advisor Abdul Razak Dawood, Minister for Religious Affairs Noor ul Haq Qadri, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed and other ministers.
The meeting is expected to discuss the resolution and take important decisions on the European Parliament’s call to review Pakistan’s GSP Plus status.
European Parliament resolution reflects lack of understanding, says FO
Responding to the European Parliament’s resolution, the Foreign Office had expressed disappointment over the development.
“The discourse in the European Parliament reflects a lack of understanding in the context of blasphemy laws and associated religious sensitivities in Pakistan – and the wider Muslim world. The unwarranted commentary about Pakistan’s judicial system and domestic laws are regrettable,” read a statement by the FO.
“Pakistan is a parliamentary democracy with a vibrant civil society, free media and independent judiciary, which remains fully committed to the promotion and protection of human rights for all its citizens without discrimination,” the Foreign Office had added.
The FO had said Pakistan is proud of its 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.
“Pakistan has 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.”