Trade chief MEP, Sajjad Karim, has told Pakistan’s Attorney General that Prime Minister Khan’s reputation within the EU is very high.

During a meeting at the European Parliament between Dr Karim and Attorney General, Anwar Mansoor Khan, the British MEP told the chief law officer that the recently elected Pakistani Premier is held in high esteem among his European colleagues.

Dr Karim – who Chair’s the Parliament’s South Asia Trade Monitoring Committee – also stressed the importance of maintaining strong links between the EU and Pakistan, which have developed positively over the past few years.

Speaking from Brussels, the British MEP said:

“The meeting with Attorney General Mansoor Khan today went very well and I am pleased that we had the chance to meet here in the European Parliament before the end of this current mandate, which will hopefully place the EU and Pakistan in good stead for carrying on developing and deepening relations between the two.

“I was also pleased to discuss Prime Minister Khan’s recent election after last year, as it has been welcomed here in the European Parliament and is seen by myself and my colleagues as an encouraging development.

“On the relationship between Pakistan and the EU, it is actually in a very good place right now. Despite there having been some ups and downs in the last five to six years, we have been on an uphill trajectory in terms of positive developments, but uphill also in terms of the amount of legwork and effort that was required to keep it moving in that direction. The good will from both sides, through a number of governments, has seen an increasingly positive change in attitudes towards the European Union.

“People like myself were waiting for a signal from the new administration to see what view the current administration would have towards the European Union. So far, we have not received any direct intimation other than your visit today, so this is very important for us to hear directly as to what future plans are in place in terms of the direction of travel.

“Indirectly, certainly, we have seen a number of signs that have demonstrated a commitment towards EU-Pakistan relations, most notably regarding the prosecution of Asia Bibi and the resolution of that, which Prime Minister Khan took a direct interest in. This sends a very clear sign that Pakistan, for its own reasons, wants to ensure that the parameters are set in a certain way, but of course when they are set in this particular way, it aids the relationship with the EU.”

The British MEP also noted the current political situation in the UK regarding Brexit, highlighting that this would have to be factored into any future policies.

“It is vital that strong links between the UK and Pakistan are maintained following Britain’s departure from the EU and also that Pakistan forges new alliances within the EU, since the UK will no longer be able to act as a bridge between the two, so this must also be taken into account in any decision-making process.”

Dr Karim was instrumental in Pakistan gaining its coveted GSP+ trade status and in 2015 was awarded 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.