European Parliamentarians raised concerns over the European Union financial support to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan despite the country’s lack of efforts towards tackling terrorist groups in the country, radical Islam and remaining on the Financial ActionTerrorism Financing (FATF) ‘grey list’ for two and a half years
The FATF, an international organisation committed to combating terrorist financing, has had Pakistan on its ‘grey list’ for 28 months. Certain terrorist organisations are able to thrive openly in Pakistan, as the government is ambivalent, and issues sentences which do not deter such activities or which are never imposed. This was the case for one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, Hafiz Saeed, founder of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, who is included on the UN list of suspected international terrorists.
Pakistan’s has neither tackled the operational terrorists groups in the country nor has it addressed rising Islamic extremism. Despite these failures, the European Union has continued to provide it with substantial support. In the last 10 years, €600 million has been given to Pakistan as aid and on 6 October this year, €150 million of further support was announced to help with the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, Pakistan benefits from the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+), which exempts it from customs duty on certain imports into the EU.
On 30 October 2020, French Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) France Jamet, Jean-Paul Garraud, Herve Juvin, Catherine Griset, Annika Bruna, Maxette Pirbakas, Jean-François Jalkh, Hélène Laporte, Gilbert Collard and Julie Lechanteux, all of the Identity and Democracy Group, tabled a parliamentary questions to the European Commission.
The European Parliamentarians requested to know “what is the estimated overall trade value of the benefits acquired by Pakistan under the GSP+?” and “will the EU remove Pakistan from the GSP+ owing to its non-compliance with the arrangements?”
These questions follow similar questions raised by other European parliamentarians over the last years regarding increasing concerns of terrorism and Pakistan’s failure to comply with human rights in respect of its GSP+ obligation. A response from the Commission is expected in the coming weeks.
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