The European Union (EU) and Pakistan have expressed a strong political commitment towards the GSP+ and the implementation of 27 international conventions on human rights, labour rights, protection of the environment and good governance that are linked to it. A statement released by the EU as well as Foreign Office after the 6th round of the EU-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, co-chaired by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and High Representative and Vice President of European Commission Josep Borrell, stated this. The European Union (EU) welcomed the progress made by Pakistan to implement the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action plans and also lauded adoption of the “Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill” by the parliament, that later became an act with the presidential approval.The EU also welcomed the “ongoing efforts to address the remaining FATF actions. The two sides reviewed the ongoing cooperation between Pakistan and the EU based on the strategic engagement plan, the joint communique shared by the Foreign Office said. They agreed to further enhance EU-Pakistan mutual engagement, especially on security and regional cooperation. Both sides agreed to hold the first meeting of the new EU-Pakistan Security Dialogue with sub-groups on non-proliferation and disarmament, and counter-terrorism in 2022. The HR/VP and the foreign minister reaffirmed their resolve to strengthen and protect human rights, as well as fundamental freedoms, focusing on the freedom of religion and belief, interfaith harmony, religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence, and rights of minorities. Qureshi also raised concerns over the rising trends of Islamophobic acts, xenophobia and religious intolerance in the world and the need for common resolve to counter them. The HR/VP raised concerns, including on the death penalty and the misuse of the blasphemy law. He also expressed appreciation for the adoption of the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill by the Parliament of Pakistan and expressed the hope that the Anti-Torture Bill and other human rights-related legislations that are before the Parliament would be adopted soon. They also welcomed the continued cooperation with Pakistan on electoral matters. Borrell informed Qureshi about the upcoming follow-up visit of the EU Election Observation Mission to Pakistan of 2018.
The two leaders also discussed the importance of decisive global action on climate adaptation and building climate resilience, and the importance of developed countries taking the lead in mobilising climate finance, noting the significant role of public and private funds, and technology to facilitate the transition. Borrell welcomed Pakistan’s pronouncement, prior to the Glasgow conference, of its nationally determined contribution to reaching the common climate objectives. Both leaders had an extensive exchange of views on the situation in Afghanistan. They agreed on the importance of maintaining sustained engagement with Afghanistan to promote stability and countering narcotics, as well as the threat of terrorism. They expressed concern at the potential for an economic collapse and significantly worsening humanitarian crisis and a fresh flow of refugees.