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Europe India Business Chamber demands suspension of GSP status to Pakistan for persecution of Sikhs, Hindus and Christians

File photo: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photograph:( AFP )

WION New Delhi Sep 14, 2019, 08.34 PM (IST) Written By: Kartikeya Sharma

Europe India Chamber of Commerce has written to European Commissioner for Trade asking it to suspend Generalised System of Preference (GSP) to Pakistan. 

The letter written on September 12 states that GSP status must be withdrawn because of human rights violation and persecution of Hindus, Christians and Sikhs who constitute a religious minority in Pakistan. 

The letter states that EU suspended trade privileges with countries involved in human rights violations like Sri Lanka (now restored). The letter written to European Commissioner for Trade Cecillia Malmstrom states that Pakistan state is systematically indulging in genocide of Christians, Sikhs and Hindus. The letter also raises the issue of abduction of minor Hindu and Sikh girls and forced conversions and subsequent child marriages.

“Pakistani Christians, Hindus and Sikhs are powerless in front of Courts, as the perpetrators get false age & marriage certificates from madrasas, and the Courts do not verify the documents. Christians and other minorities are not only "soft targets" for the militancy, but also victims of socioeconomic and political exclusion in the country. You shall be shocked to see the two attachments we are able to provide to you giving you the list of abducted and forcibly converted girls in the last 75 days in Pakistan and harassment of minority girls in the country,” the letter states.

The Secretary-General Sunil prasad in his letter also writes,” Madam Commissioner, Trade Policy being one of the key mandates of the European Commission, you will agree that a country which is engaged in perpetual violence against religious minorities and the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities, has no right to receive any special trade privilege from the EU. This also goes against the very ethos of European values, life and respect for minorities. The GSP was an instrument afforded to Pakistan with the hope, (and promises made by the country), that it shall improve its human rights record, but sadly it has failed again and again in its promises, and therefore the country must be denied this special trade status. It is time that the EU takes a tough stand to prevent deterioration of the human rights situation in the country and we call on the EU to immediately suspend GSP plus to Pakistan.” 

The letter has detailed the list of girls abducted from minority communities in Pakistan in last 75 days.

The issue of GSP status to Pakistan was raised by the members of the European Parliament during the meeting of the European Parliament Sub-Committee on Human Right (DRO) on 9th September this year. 

The letter comes in the wake of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address. 

India has been aggressively putting across systemic persecution of Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan from last 6 years.

Story highlights

The letter written on September 12 states that GSP status must be withdrawn because of human rights violation and persecution of Hindus, Christians and Sikhs who constitute a religious minority in Pakistan.