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‘Govt heading towards GSP Plus compliance’

LAHORECompliance obligation under GSP plus scheme to 27 international conventions concerning human rights, labour rights, environment, governance and narcotics control covers all aspects of the life of citizens, is required to be taken into account seriously, stated by IA Rehman, secretary-general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan at a

By our correspondents
June 11, 2015
LAHORE
Compliance obligation under GSP plus scheme to 27 international conventions concerning human rights, labour rights, environment, governance and narcotics control covers all aspects of the life of citizens, is required to be taken into account seriously, stated by IA Rehman, secretary-general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan at a seminar on Wednesday.
Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) obligations are required to be taken as an opportunity to transform socioeconomic and political narrative of Pakistan, he added at a multi stakeholders forum on GSP+ in Pakistan, organised by Democracy Reporting International.
The forum was attended by a large number of high officials of relevant government departments, MPAs, representatives of business organisations, civil society, trade unions and media.
MPAs including Irfan Daultana, Mary Gill, Ayesha Javed, Farah Manzoor and Nabeela Hakim Ali, secretary Lahore Bar Association Muhammad Qayyum and Secretary Punjab Union of Journalists Aamir Sohail attended the forum. Rehman said Pakistan is required to develop redress mechanisms to effectively deal with violence against women and minorities, child labour, bonded labour and to ensure civil liberties to the citizens of Pakistan. He advised the government to present original compliance reports to EU, any ambiguity may lead to misunderstanding resulting earning bad name for Pakistan at global forums.
Syed Mohsin Abass, secretary of Law and focal person of the Punjab Treaty Implementation Cell, shared with participants that the Punjab government is heading towards GSP+ compliance obligations. The compliance to international obligations requires effective legislation and implementation mechanisms in this regard the Punjab government has introduced a number of human rights related laws recently, a bill on protection of women is ready to be presented at assembly floor.
He stressed the need for coordinated efforts of stakeholders to ensure GSP+ compliance and to maintain the status of duty free exports of Pakistani products to European markets. Abass emphasised the need to provide enabling environment for ensuring compliance on international obligations, responsibility lies on all stakeholders - business community, civil society and state bodies to work together for the purpose.
Dawood Abdullah, Director Labour, said timely compliance of reporting on the international labour standards has been ensured in Punjab. The CM has started a project of Rs 5 billion for mitigation of child and bonded labour in Punjab, the enrolment campaign of brick kiln workers’ children has been started.
Aamir Fayyaz Shaikh, Chairman International Trade Committee of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), pointed out that Pakistan secured the highest trade volume (30.51pc) increase on the overall EU’s imports compared to the global apparel competitors in 2014. He urged the government to ensure compliance on 27 conventions attached to the GSP+ facility in the best interest of business growth in Pakistan which will result in creation of new jobs and improvement in social standards.
Earlier, Zulfiqar Shah, a team leader at DRI while giving background, said Pakistan acquired GSP+ status in January 2014, which grants duty-free exports of various products within European markets. The status provides Pakistan with an opportunity to improve trade, promote exports, and increase employment opportunities thus the country can get an economic growth.