Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani after chairing an Inter-Ministerial Meeting convened for discussing the ratification of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights(ICCPR) and UN Convention against Torture (CAT), directed to withdraw most of the reservations expressed by the Government earlier in the matter.
It may be mentioned that the European Union had conveyed that these reservations had made Pakistan ineligible for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status to be accorded in 2014 by the European Union.
To settle the issue, the Prime Minister chaired an Inter-Ministerial Meeting on today. After detailed discussions, it was decided to withdraw the reservations on Articles 6, 7, 12, 13, 18, 19 and 40 of ICCPR. The reservation on Article 3 was narrowed down to Personal Law and Law of Evidence, and reservation on Article 25 was restricted to the election of the President of Pakistan. On the Convention against CAT, it was decided to withdraw reservations on Articles 3, 4, 6, 12, 13 and 16. The reservation on Article 8 was retained. The declarations on Article 20 as provided in Article 28 (1) and Article 30 (1) were also retained.
A grant of GSP Plus status will entitle Pakistan to avail of multiple trade concessions privileges and enhanced trade activities with European Union. The policy decision led by the Prime Minister is expected to enhance Pakistan’s exports manifold.
Earlier on 22 June 2010 the Cabinet ratified two Conventions the ICCPR and CAT subject to 9 reservations in ICCPR and 10 reservations in CAT. The European Union through its emissaries had conveyed that the reservations made by the Government regarding ICCPR and CAT nullify the impact of ratification of these two International Conventions by the Government of Pakistan. Accordingly, an Inter-ministerial meeting of representatives from Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Commerce, Law, Justice, Minorities, Interior and Religious Affairs discussed the issue on 10-6-2011 with Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Human Rights in the chair. The aim of the meeting was to deliberate upon the reservations which would jeopardize the status of grant of trade benefits to Pakistan under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus Scheme of the European Union. The key reservations were however, still in place after this meeting.
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