What Happened: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran khan took note of the EU parliament reviewing Pakistan’s GSP+ status and preferential treatment granted to Pakistan. PM Khan took disappointed at these developments and said that he would hold negotiations with the EU to unlink the trade ties and the blasphemy laws.
The federal government has decided not to compromise over the country’s blasphemy laws. However, the federal government has decided to introduce legislation in line with the human rights agreements to the European Union.
The Prime Minister chaired two meetings on Monday, with the ambassadors of the OIC and then with internal members of the PTI.
Meeting with OIC: Information Minister Fawad Chaudry told media that the Prime Minister told the OIC envoy that the Muslim countries had failed to convince the West that the blasphemy of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) hurt the sentiments of over 1.5 Muslims around the globe and had nothing to do with freedom of speech.
He further added that whenever any act of terrorism occurred, it was linked with the entire Muslim ummah and it caused further stigmatization of Muslims.
He urged the OIC to work together to show the West the deep-rooted love and respect the entire Muslim population has for the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Quran. He also recognized the need for a legal framework protecting religious freedoms and said that this could only be achieved through OIC’s collective efforts.
Meeting with PTI leaders: The EU resolution was discussed in the meeting with the PTI leaders. PM Khan vowed to enter negotiations with the EU parliament and he said he would ensure that the GSP+ status is not muddled up with the issue of blasphemy laws.
The EU resolution has called for Pakistan’s status in the GSP+ list to be reviewed over the countless abuses of the blasphemy law in the country and to to initiate a procedure for the temporary withdrawal of this status and the benefits that come with it, and to report to the European Parliament on this matter as soon as possible. The parliament noted that the groups like TLP had used such measures to threaten the French ambassador and furthermore incite violence against the Christian citizens in the country. Concern was expressed especially on the case of Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel, who were sentenced to death in 2014 for allegedly sending blasphemous texts.