ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Defence Khurram Dastgir and Chairman of the European Union Military Committee General Mikhail Kostarakos on Wednesday exchanged views on issues of mutual interest during their meeting in Brussels, capital of Belgium. Both sides agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation.  

The Defence Minister who is heading a parliamentary delegation to Brussels had comprehensive meetings with Heads of Groups and Committees in the European Parliament.

The delegation comprised members of Parliament MNA Dr Fehmida Mirza, Senator Shibli Faraz and Senator Siraj-ul-Haq. The delegation met with MEP Manfred Weber, Chair of the European People’s Party Group in the European Parliament.

Khurram Dastgir briefed Weber comprehensively on developments in Pakistan in political and economic fields in the wake of consolidation of democracy since 2008. 

Talking about upward trajectory in the Pakistan-EU relations, the minister said the relations between Pakistan and the EU countries have further strengthened after GSP Plus scheme.

The delegation also gave an overview of economic uplift and investment opportunities in the wake of CPEC. 

Weber appreciated Pakistan’s role in the fight against terrorism. He strongly supported the need to further enhance trade relations between Pakistan and EU, adding the EU always favoured stronger Pakistan. He also evinced keen interest in understanding China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The delegation also met with the GSP Plus monitoring committee. The defence minister informed the committee that Pakistan has always preferred trade over aid as a means for development and the expansion of trade between Pakistan and the European Union countries over the past four years since the grant of GSP Plus status clearly manifests this approach. He briefed the committee on the government’s policies towards improving economy of the country.

He said that the GSP Plus provided the necessary window for strengthening Pakistan’s economy. “With increased energy supply from the projects undertaken by the government in past four years and supplemented by the energy projects envisaged under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan will be able to fully utilize the potential of the GSP Plus facility,” he said. This would also help diversify Pakistan’s production base and yield positive dividends for its people, he added. 

He lauded EU’s role in supporting Pakistan trade through GSP Plus. He invited the EU to consider investing in Pakistan following positive economic outlook.