On 3 December 2021, the 7th round of the Political Dialogue between the European Union and Pakistan was held by video conference.
The EU and Pakistan discussed the full range of issues pertaining to their bilateral relationship as well as a number of foreign policy issues, including regional security and stability. They agreed on the importance of making further progress with the implementation of the EU–Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP). In this context, both partners expressed their strong commitment to hold the first meeting of the EU-Pakistan Security Dialogue in early 2022. Other topics discussed included cooperation on counter-terrorism, especially action against money laundering and terrorist financing, Pakistan’s progress towards the implementation of its action plan developed with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and migration and mobility.
Pakistan’s initiative of introducing new legislation on human rights issues relevant for the international conventions linked to the GSP+ unilateral trade preferences was discussed. The EU welcomed laws recently passed, encouraged timely completion of other legislative proposals and underlined the importance of a robust implementation framework. The EU raised concerns regarding cases of torture, enforced disappearances, access to justice, the misuse of the blasphemy law, freedom of expression and media freedom, as well as freedom of religion and belief. The EU inquired about steps taken by the Government of Pakistan to counter extremist forces promoting hatred and intolerance, creating harm to society and putting a strain on Pakistan’s international relations.
The EU and Pakistan also exchanged views on regional and international foreign policy issues, in particular the situation in Afghanistan. They agreed on the need to provide urgent and unhindered humanitarian assistance and to ensure the provision of basic social services directly to the population. They highlighted the imperative of preserving the gains made over the past two decades, notably as regards the human rights of women and girls, as well as the rights of minorities. They also emphasized the critical importance of an inclusive government, to enhance the prospects of stability and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
The Political Dialogue was co-chaired by the Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Enrique Mora, and Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Ambassador Sohail Mahmood.
The Political Dialogue precedes the Strategic Dialogue, which will take place in Brussels on 7 December, between EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, and the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi.