Trade chief MEP, Sajjad Karim, has reaffirmed the view that EU-Pakistan relations are at their strongest point ever.
Sajjad Karim - who Chair’s the European Parliament’s South Asia Trade Monitoring Committee - made the comments during a meeting with Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights, Dr. Shireen Mazari, who is visiting Brussels this week and was also accompanied by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the EU Naghmana Hashmi.
He has previously maintained that the relationship between the EU and Pakistan is at an all-time high with the new Strategic Engagement Plan soon to be ratified, but took the opportunity today to reiterate this point, having previously described the new agreement as an encouraging development and a “solid basis” for future relations between both parties.
The High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, announced the new Strategic Engagement Plan last month from Islamabad, where she was co-chairing the 4th EU-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, together with her counterpart Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
Dr Karim also met with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi last month at the Pakistani Foreign Office to discuss this agreement. The agreement will be signed in Brussels later in the year.
Speaking from Brussels, the British MEP said:
“I was delighted to welcome the Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, to the European Parliament today, particularly following the recent news of the agreement on the EU-Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan, which really is going to set the base for the future relationship - a much deeper partner relationship between Pakistan and the European Union.
“Relations between our two parties are at their strongest point ever and with the new Strategic Engagement Plan to be ratified in Brussels later this year, things could not be much better.
“I know that this European Parliament will give its full-backing to the new further deepened strategic nature of the relationship that will develop into the future between the EU and Pakistan.
“Relations between the UK and Pakistan have also been greatly enhanced on many levels, including on trade, as a result of Britain’s EU membership. I hope that this partnership continues way beyond Brexit.”
Dr Karim has taken a leading role on behalf of the UK in strengthening the bonds between the EU and Pakistan through his work in the European Parliament, and worked extremely closely with former Prime Minister David Cameron to deliver a preferential trade package for Pakistan - the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) - as a UK Government trade priority.
Last month he won the Parliament Magazine’s prestigious MEP Award, recognising his extensive work on EU International Trade, including EU-Pakistan trade achievements, as well as being awarded in 2015 the Sitara-i-Qaid-i-Azam - the highest national honour to non-Pakistanis for services that have helped the country - joining ranks with the British Queen and Nelson Mandela.