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Saturday, June 8, 2024

What will happen if Pakistan loses its GSP+ status?

IHRF says it has credible reports of power abuse in Pakistan which can risk its GSP+ status.

The International Human Rights Foundation (IHRF) has shown concerns over the misuse of authority in Pakistan. Moreover, it is said to have credible reports and evidence of power abuse in the country which can risk Pakistan’s GSP+ status.

Likewise, the IHRF has expressed itself on a social media account:

“We are setting up a working group on this issue. We are currently gathering accurate information about what happened. We welcome any evidence and reliable news.”

The concerns grew further when reports of mishandling and abuse of politicians and journalists emerged in the country. Recently, Shahbaz Gill, advisor to former Prime Minister Imran Khan was arrested a few days back after a video clip of his controversial remarks went viral on social media.

The authorities have mistreated him as seen in videos when Shahbaz Gill was gasping for air after the police had taken his oxygen mask while taking him to the court. Additionally, former Prime Minister Imran Khan also went to see him at PIMS hospital but was denied permission. Likewise, it is reported that doctors have forced Shahbaz Gill to eat sugary foods despite knowing he was a diabetic patient.

“I am a diabetic, I cannot drink juice…”

Read more: PTI shares evidence of Shahbaz Gill’s torture with int’l human rights bodies

In addition to Shahbaz Gill, many other politicians and journalists have also been victims of power abuse in the country. Journalists Jameel Farooqui and Imran Riaz Khan were also arrested by the authorities and then physically and mentally tortured. Similarly, Shireen Mazari, former Minister of Human Rights of Pakistan was also mishandled by the police.

Impacts of losing GSP+ status

Since Pakistan is a developing country and it heavily depends on trade for economic development, the GSP+ status allows it to have increased access to the EU market on a preferential basis. Moreover, the EU being the second largest economy in the world would help Pakistan to establish a firm marketplace and make its products highly competitive compared to the rest of the world.

Furthermore, the GSP+ status is highly important for Pakistan as its economy relies heavily on its exports to the European region which account for almost 28% of total exports. Similarly, the exports to the EU market are dominated by textiles and clothing which account for 75.2% of Pakistan’s total exports to the EU. In addition to increased exports, the status has helped Pakistan with tariff relaxations and trade incentives.

Read more: Pakistan’s stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict and its GSP+ case

However, in the current situation of power abuse and prevailing economic uncertainty, it is very difficult for Pakistan to maintain its GSP status as the IHRF has already said to investigate the matter.

Therefore, if Pakistan loses its GSP status, it would suffer heavily in terms of its economy as the country largely depends on the EU market for its trade.