Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar on Thursday told the media that he had met with over a hundred European Union parliamentarians during his efforts the obtaining a GSP Plus status for Pakistan and had tried to project a soft image of the country.
He said many of the EU parliamentarians had expressed their reservations regarding the state of labour and minorities in the country and human rights violations in general.
Sarwar said that he told them that 98 per cent of the people killed in terrorist attacks in the country were Muslims. He also said that he had sent European leaders English transcripts of the speech made by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Christmas Eve. The governor said Sharif had highlighted the ruling party’s stance regarding minorities and the government’s efforts in providing them equal rights. Sarwar said that he would also organise several events for minorities at the Governor House.
On GSP Plus status
The governor said after Bangladesh received the GSP Plus status, its exports increased from $5 billion to $25 billion. The GSP Plus would not be confined to the textile industry alone, Pakistan would be able to export 600 kinds of goods to the EU duty free. Sarwar said India was yet to receive the GSP Plus and had to pay 12 per cent export duty on its exports to the EU. After receiving the status, Pakistani exports would increase from $13.6 billion to $26 billion, he said. Furthermore, a million jobs would also be created, said Sarwar.
The textile industry suffered massively from the gas shortage last year. The government has decided to provide the industry gas for two days a week, he said.
Sarwar said there were some hurdles, following the LHC ruling, however they would be overcome soon. He said the government wanted to devolve powers to local bodies, but that would take some time. On the construction of Kala Bagh Dam, Sarwar said it mystified him as to how a dam that could allow electricity generation at Rs2 per unit could be seen as a threat to the nation’s survival and stability.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2014.
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