The premier made these remarks during a meeting with the newly-arrived envoy of the European Union to Pakistan, Dr Riina Kionka, at the Prime Minister House.
“With current GSP Plus scheme mutually beneficial, trading ties between Pakistan and EU should be enhanced. Pakistan will continue to be part of the arrangement beyond 2023,” the prime minister said as per the statement issued after the meeting. He said the sustained high-level exchanges between Pakistan and the European Union were vital to further strengthen the partnership.“Pakistan attaches high importance to its relations with the EU as well as its historically close and cooperative bilateral ties with EU member states,” he added.Recalling his recent telephone conversations with EU Council President Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, the prime minister expressed confidence that the upcoming visits to Pakistan by the EU parliamentary delegations, as well as the next rounds of political and security dialogues under EU-Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan, would pave the way for more substantive cooperation between the two sides.Discussing Afghanistan, PM Sharif stressed the need for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. He also highlighted the “unprecedented level of cooperation” that Pakistan had extended to the international community with regard to Afghanistan, especially since the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban in August last year.Dr Kionka expressed her resolve to work for further deepening of EU-Pakistan relations during her tenure in Islamabad.On the occasion of National Minorities Day on Aug 11, Shehbaz Sharif reaffirmed the coalition government’s resolve for the betterment and welfare of minorities and their fullest inclusion in national life and development.He said the government was committed to these obligations and “officially celebrates the 11th of August to reiterate its resolve towards the achievement of the noble objective of building an inclusive society” in line with the vision of the Quaid-i-Azam.The PM said the government was taking steps to “mainstream minorities in the country by ensuring a level-playing field for them”.“The idea is to enable and facilitate all segments of society, particularly our non-Muslim citizens, to take a full part in the national life,” he said in his message on the National Day of Minorities.He mentioned other measures for the uplift of poor members of religious minorities.