ISLAMABAD: The European Union [EU] has sought a progress report from the Pakistan government over its commitment regarding implementation of the 27-UN conventions under the GSP plus package.
In a recent correspondence with the commerce ministry, the EU has sought a comprehensive report on the progress with particular focus on protection of human rights in Pakistan.
The report will be examined and subsequently endorsed by the EU Parliament, a step forward towards extension of the GSP plus status.
Under the GSP plus status, EU countries have allowed duty free exports of Pakistan goods, aimed at supporting the country’s fragile economy and in return sought certain commitments regarding upholding human rights.
These human rights include minority rights, women rights, labour rights and rights of marginalised groups.
An official in the ministry told The Express Tribune that the EU has also expressed serious concern over capital punishment in Pakistan. The current government had ended the moratorium on death sentences following the Army Public School carnage in Peshawar back in December 2014. However, Pakistan managed to satisfy the union to some extent on the ground that since it is in a state of turmoil fighting terrorism, death sentence in certain cases is the last resort to control the situation.
However, sources said that the latest concern of the EU is the rising trend of honour killing in Pakistan, which is at an all-time high. “Unlike the death sentence, we do not have any excuse for this issue,” said an official.
The commerce ministry has written to all four provinces, in addition to Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and ministry of interior, ministry of human rights, ministry of anti-narcotics, ministry of human resource development and ministry of climate change for provision of details about the progress in their respective areas by the end of this month.
Commerce ministry will compile a complete report to present to the EU after receiving data from these concerned ministries and provinces.
The federal government has to rely on the data from the provincial authorities since most subjects have been devolved to the provinces including human rights, labour and manpower.
The EU will present the report to EU Parliament by the end of the year for endorsement, which will pave the way for further extension of the trade concessions for Pakistani commodities in the EU markets under the GSP plus.