EU parliamentarians raise concerns over financial support to Pak despite inaction on terrorism

ANI
·2-min read
Representative image
Representative image

Brussels [Belgium], November 17 (ANI): European Parliamentarians have raised concerns over the European Union's financial support to Pakistan despite the country's lack of efforts towards tackling terrorist groups in the country.

"Certain terrorist organisations are able to thrive openly in Pakistan, as the government is ambivalent, and issues sentences which do not deter such activities or which are never imposed. This was the case for one of the world's most wanted terrorists, Hafiz Saeed, founder of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, who is included on the UN list of suspected international terrorists," a release said.

The criticism from European Parliamentarian comes as FATF, an international organisation committed to combating terrorist financing, has had Pakistan on its Grey List for 28 months.

At the conclusion of its plenary meeting last month, FATF had said Pakistan should swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2021.

It had also asked Pakistan to demonstrate effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all designated terrorists, identifying and freezing assets and prohibiting access to funds and financial services.

Slamming the lack of progress on Islamabad's part, the release said Pakistan's has neither tackled the operational terrorist groups in the country nor has it addressed rising Islamic extremism.

"Despite these failures, the European Union has continued to provide it with substantial support. In the last 10 years, EUR600 million has been given to Pakistan as aid and on October 6 this year, EUR150 million of further support was announced to help with the COVID-19 crisis," it said.

The parliamentarians pointed out that Pakistan benefits from the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+), which exempts it from customs duty on certain imports into the EU.

They asked what is the estimated overall trade value of the benefits acquired by Pakistan under the GSP+ and "will the EU remove Pakistan from the GSP+ owing to its non-compliance with the arrangements?"

"These questions follow similar questions raised by other European parliamentarians over the last years regarding increasing concerns of terrorism and Pakistan's failure to comply with human rights in respect of its GSP+ obligation. A response from the Commission is expected in the coming weeks," the release said.

Last month, several French Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) all of the Identity and Democracy Group, tabled a parliamentary question to the European Commission. (ANI)