ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Commerce and Textile Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan told the Senate on Tuesday that GSP Plus status to Pakistan by the European Union is a big achievement of country’s economic diplomacy.
In a policy statement, he said it is the first clear progress towards the government’s policy of “trade and not aid”. He said it was possible because of consistency of democracy in the country and Pakistani people’s commitment to the supremacy of the Constitution. He said GSP Plus status is an incentive and not a reward. He acknowledged the role of different countries including Germany, Britain and Sweden who supported Pakistan for this achievement. He also acknowledged the efforts of the previous government in this regard.
Khurram Dastgir said as result of GSP Plus, Pakistan’s 6000 tariff lines can be exported to 27 EU countries at zero rating from 1st of next month. He said Pakistan will get immediate benefit of seven hundred million to one billion dollars by increasing its exports and this benefit will continue to increase with the passage of time. He said it will create hundreds of thousands new employment opportunities particularly for the unemployed youth. He stressed the need for diversifying our exports to benefit from the GSP Plus. He said the government is also encouraging non-traditional items and removing hurdles for increasing Pakistan’s exports.
He said the government is also addressing the issue energy and law and order which would help increase our exports.
Kamil Ali Agha and Mushahid Hussain Syed appreciated the government’s efforts to get GSP Plus status and termed it a big success.
The House resumed discussion on the foreign policy of the Government with particular reference to the visit of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to the United States, the repercussions of the expected reduction of forces in Afghanistan by the US/ISAF in 2014, offer of talks to the Taliban, drone attacks and NATO supply.
Taking part in the debate Mushahid Hussain Syed said balance of power is being shifted from West to East economically and politically. He said America wants to contain China. He wants clarity of position of the government on post-withdrawal of US/ISAF forces from Afghanistan and Iran and Pakistan gas pipeline.
Mir Hasil Bizenjo termed the foreign policy as a failure and said destruction and killings we are witnessing today is the result of our thirty year’s foreign policy. He said GSP Plus status to Pakistan is appreciable but we can only benefit from it when there is a peace in the country. And, he said peace in Pakistan is linked with stability in Afghanistan. He said improvement of relations between India and Pakistan is imperative for development of SAARC. He pointed out that if there is an equation of US, India, Afghanistan and Iran then Pakistan will be the most isolated country in the world.
Rehman Malik said terrorists cannot be defeated unless we have a common strategy against them. He said it was wrong that PPP government had no policy against terrorism. He said PPP government was pursuing 3-D [Dialogue, Development and Deterrence] policy. He said Taliban and other enemies of Pakistan want to destabilize the country.
Abbas Khan Afridi said we have to set our own house in order to stop external interference. Referring to Tehrik-e-Insaf’s protest in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa to stop NATO supply, he said it snatched the employment of the people of the province.
Begum Kalsoom Parveen was of the view that Abdul Qadir Mullah was hanged in Bangladesh because of his loyalty with Pakistan in 1971 events. She stressed the need for reviewing the foreign policy and makes it more effective to improve the image of the country.