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Pakistan ready for ‘positive & productive engagement with EU: FM


ISLAMABAD, MAY 26 – Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday said Pakistan was ready to play its part for positive and productive partnership with the European Union as enormous potential existed in areas of trade, climate change and digitization.

In his virtual address to the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET), the foreign minister said the Pak-EU Strategic Engagement Plan signed in June2019 had ushered in a new phase in relationship.

Qureshi mentioned that Pak-EU relationship had provided a solid foundation and framework for cooperation in multiple domains, including) political and defence, trade and investment, promotion of democracy, rule of law, good governance and human rights, migration and mobility, sustainable development, education and culture and science and technology.

He expressed satisfaction that Pak-EU relationship was moving steadily in a positive direction in all spheres of cooperation and expressed commitment to “remain engaged to further expand our multidimensional partnership”.

He said the EU was a traditional friend and a major economic partner of Pakistan with their cooperation based on shared values of democracy, pluralism, mutual understanding and respect.

He lauded the EU’s efforts and contributions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qureshi said trade was an important aspect of Pakistan-EU multi-faceted relationship.

While the GSP Plus has supported our exports, we have introduced reforms to attract foreign direct investment to maximally utilize this facility, he added.

The foreign minister said Pakistan offered an open and deregulated market with 100 percent equity ownership and repatriation of capital and dividends.

He mentioned that over the last five years, Pakistan’s IT exports had increased by 151 percent and offered the EU to benefit from the country’s human resource in the IT sector to realize its goals of Digitization.

The Foreign Minister expressed disappointed at the adoption of a resolution by the European Parliament on blasphemy laws in Pakistan, which he said, “reflected a lack of understanding of blasphemy laws and associated religious sensitivities in Pakistan and in the wider Muslim world”.

“We need to appreciate the religious sentiments attached to the personality of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and other religious symbols,” he stressed.

He said the government had firmly moved against the radical groups after the recent protests and assured that “no armed pressure group is being allowed to challenge the writ of the state and dictate government policies”.

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