Published Date: Feb 5, 2015
Pakistan needs to move forward after 16/12 massacre: EU
ISLAMABAD – Ambassador of European Union, Lars Gunner Wigemark, has said that Pakistan should move forward after 16/12 tragedy in Peshawar.
Ambassador Wigemark was addressing a seminar on “Deepening of Pakistan-EU relations: Post-Afghan Withdrawal” organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute Islamabad.
He said the European Union would like to do more in terms of counterterrorism and sharing intelligence, adding that Pakistan should be champion of regional integration just like six European states that had done a lot in case of EU.
The ambassador said that India should not press panic button at this stage. He said, “We share role being played by India in trade and Pakistan should take steps in regional integration.” He welcomed Pak-China economic corridor as long as it involves others also. He hoped relations with Iran will also improve one day.
The ambassador said that EU is a union of 21 democracies which arose from ashes of World War-II. He said, “We support democracies in the world in education and health sectors in particular. Admitting it is not flawless model if you see past few years but still Europeans tried to pool resources for an integrated region which seeks the countries to secede some of their sovereign rights.” He said actions undertaken in promoting sovereignty have impact on neighbours.
He said that EU welcomes improvement in Pak-Afghan ties as it is important for the both countries. He highlighted importance of transit trade agreement for SAARC countries. He said, “We not only promote trade with regions but also within region” He referred to his country Sweden’s trade with Norway and Italy asking Pakistan to explore trade vistas with its neighbouring India.
Wigemark said India has ten times bigger area, population, common history and some disputes. If both New Delhi and Islamabad had positive relations, the ties with Europe will definitely improve, he said sharing Obama’s reservations on protectionism expressed in India adding, “We want to end non-trade barriers.”
The EU ambassador said Pakistan should move forward after 16/12 tragedy in Peshawar. He said we would like to do more in terms of counter-terrorism and sharing intelligence. He said the answers lie within keeping in view culture and values while moving ahead in this respect. He said Pakistan has diversity and opinion against Taliban is dominant.
He said that EU will work in poor areas in the smaller provinces and south Punjab to combat militancy in Pakistan. He supported local elections as the MPs should not indulge in local issues.
The EU envoy said that EU is the largest donor as well as trade partner of Pakistan. He said that a country considering to trade with EU should implement the conditionality of EU especially those related to human rights. He said that death penalty does not help in ameliorating the ties between EU and Pakistan.
Former Ambassador to Balgium, Munawar Saeed Bhatti, said that EU countries had been centre of economic and cultural activities like a model for us. He said that Pak-EU relationship is long term, friendly and closer than that with many other countries. The EU acted as a model for other countries showing how to make their peoples prosperous. By considering 28 countries of EU together, it is the biggest economy in the world. In spite of all the financial issues EU is emerging stronger every day. Both of the institutions including EU Commission as well as EU Parliament playing most important role to enhance EU strength collectively. The EU cooperation with Pakistan started in 1976 when it committed to invest more than €500 million in projects and programmes in Pakistan. But relationship between EU and Pakistan got stronger in 2004 with trade agreements.
Source : http://nation.com.pk/islamabad/05-Feb-2015/pakistan-needs-to-move-forward-after-16-12-massacre-eu