Islamabad: The immense benefits that Pakistan gets from EU-granted Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status is in jeopardy as it failed to comply with standards set by the block.

The GSP+ status was accorded to Pakistan in 2014, allowing duty-free access to most of its goods in the bloc. Pakistan exporters immensely benefited with about two-thirds of tariff lines cut while entering the EU market.

However, the EU's anticipation that Islamabad will improve its compliance to the globally accepted standards of corporate and social behaviour related to improving human rights situation, labour standards, women's working conditions as well as environmental protection, in all comprising 27 UN conventions failed.

Pakistan has defeated the purpose of GSP+ not only with regard to human and labour rights but also in bringing equity in society at the cost of EU citizens and the government, reported Geo-politik.

The ruling elite in Pakistan had used the facility for their personal gains as proved by a European Institute for Asian Studies (EIAS) report.

Islamabad's readmission for the GSP+ benefits post-2023 is being seen as a failed incentive to a country which neither has maintained EU's values nor reciprocated in economic cooperation proportionately.

Islamabad's past records were also not convincing. In its resolutions on Pakistan on blasphemy laws in 2014 & 2021, the European Parliament (EP) underlined that GSP+ status comes with strings attached, and called upon the Commission to monitor compliance strictly, reported Geo-politik.

A sub-committee on the Human Rights of EP visited Pakistan in September 2022 to discuss human rights, highlighting the need to prevent the misuse of blasphemy laws by applying safeguards against false accusations.

The EU again raked up the issue of civil and political rights of minorities and at-risk groups during the 12th EU-Pakistan Joint Commission meeting, reported Geo-politik.

Pakistan is presently undergoing the fourth biennial review of GSP+ to determine the continuation of the benefits from 2024.

Rather than improving the situation in Pakistan has worsened further, reported Geo-politik.

A recently released Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) dossier seeks to compile all the alleged human rights violations and accused the government of illegal arrests, detention, custodial torture and victimizing political workers, suppressing media reporting, attacking freedom of expression and violating the dignity and privacy of political opponents.

Dr Shireen Mazari, a former human rights minister, told that 'enforced disappearances and violation of human rights have become common in Pakistan'.

She also stressed that the EU might not extend its GSP+ preferential tariff scheme for Pakistan when negotiations begin 'because of the way the government had been violating human rights,' reported Geo-politik.

Moreover, the EU is facing mounting pressure, especially on the economic front due to the ongoing crisis post-Covid.

The EU members are looking to overcome and plugging the laxity in compliance to stop the benefits extended under the GSP+ to the undeserving, reported Geo-politik.

The recent case was German Embassy's letter to Pak authorities pointing out difficulties faced by German manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi in exporting electric cars to Pakistan.

It called the Pak restrictions on import as detrimental to Pakistan-Germany bilateral trade warning that Islamabad may lose the GSP+ status. Germany is treating Islamabad's restrictions on opening LCs as a violation for revoking the GSP+ status given by the EU.