Sajjad Karim MEP today welcomed the European Union’s continued efforts with Pakistan on Kashmir and GSP+, following a high-level meeting between the two.
The 3rd Session of the EU-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue – which took place in Brussels this morning – saw High Representative, Federica Mogherini and Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Foreign Affairs, meet to discuss issues of mutual interest, including the current situation in Kashmir.
The EU expressed its concern with recent developments in the region and underlined the need for resolving disputes through “dialogue and constructive engagement”.
Both sides also acknowledged the first GSP+ progress report, with EU representatives encouraging Pakistan to continuing making effort towards the implementation of key human rights conventions.
Commenting on the development, Dr Karim said:
“As Chair of the European Parliament’s Friends of Pakistan Group, today’s EU-Pakistan meeting is a welcome development and I am pleased by the continued engagement from both sides.
“GSP+ has been hugely successful in helping to strengthen EU-Pakistan relations, as well as benefiting the country’s economy significantly and increasing business ventures between the two.
“After speaking to numerous Members of the European Parliament here in Strasbourg today, I can say now that the dialogue has been widely welcomed across the political spectrum.
“Furthermore, having recently written to Commissioner Mogherini on the current situation in Kashmir and receiving a positive response, it is reassuring to see her reiterate her desire to see the dispute resolved through productive dialogue.
“I hope that we can continue to make progress on the issue, but all parties involved must get round the table and engage constructively with one another.”
Earlier this year, Dr Karim wrote to the High Representative raising concerns of human rights abuses in Kashmir. In her response, the Commissioner did not insert the usual statement that the EU cannot be involved unless and until both Pakistan and India request it to do so.
Equally, Federica Mogherini stated that the Kashmiri people must themselves be involved as much as possible, another movement towards strengthening the hand of the Kashmiris themselves.
She wrote in her letter:
“It is a longstanding position of the EU to support the reconciliation process between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, particularly through dialogue, and to call for the Kashmiri people themselves to be as involved as possible in this process. This position remains unchanged.”
Commissioner Mogherini also gave her reassurances on the EU continuing to monitor the situation in the region.