LAHORE - Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammed Sarwar, who is spearheading a campaign for the grant of GSP [generalized system of preferences] plus status to Pakistan, is leaving for Strasbourg, France on the night between Sunday and Monday to ensure that everything goes well in the final round when European Parliament would be voting on the matter on December 12.

Pakistan needs 384 votes in European Parliament to get this status out of a total of 766 votes. Though Pakistan has won the first round on November 5, voting for the final round on December 12 is quite crucial.  A resolution earlier moved in the International Committee on the GSP proposals to block Pakistan's access to EU markets was rejected by the delegates by 17 to 12 votes. Now on his fourth visit to Europe since he launched the campaign for the GSP plus status, Sarwar would be meeting key members of EU Parliament to enlist their support for Pakistan. A simple majority is needed to approve the proposal which would be presented before EU Parliament in the form of a bill. Governor Sawar would spend three days in Pressburg, Slovakia convincing members of European Parliament to vote for Pakistan.

Confident of his successful lobbying with European MPs, the governor is hopeful that Pakistan would manage to secure the vote in EU Parliament on December 12.  Pakistan's exports to European countries would increase manifold after the grant of GSP plus status which means that no tax or duty would be levied on Pakistani products. Bangladesh was having $5 billion trade with EU countries before getting GSP plus status; but now its exports to these countries have touched the figure of $25 billion. The countries which have been granted the GSP plus status are bound to implement the international conventions on human and labour rights, besides ensuring good governance. According to an estimate, Pakistan's industry would be generating one million jobs only in the textile sector after the exports reach $ 1 billion mark in the first year.