Pak-EU agrees to boost legal migration, mobility

Muhammad Asad
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and European Union agreed on boosting cooperation in diverse fields including legal migration, mobility dialogue, organized crime, and border security. It was the theme of the joint stakeout of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ms.Hina Rabbani Khar and the EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs, Ylya Johansson after the conclusion of a two-day visit of EU leader to Pakistan.
Ms. Khar specifically outlined the importance of Pakistan’s multifaceted relations with the European Union including trade and investment. According to her, the GSP Plus is a mutually beneficial initiative that played an important role in the growth of Pak-EU trade ties. Minister for State for Foreign Affairs expressed hope that new GSP Plus regulations would continue to support the central concept of sustainable growth of bilateral trade.
Ms. Khar said that Pakistan acknowledges the EU’s concerns about illegal migration and had taken legislative and administrative measures to minimize illegal migration which has largely come to an end, however, there must be a dialogue and open-doors policy for the legal migration of skilled workforce between the parties.
According to Khar, Pakistan’s 65% of the population comprises youth below thirty-five while the country has an established mechanism to recruit and export skilled manpower including information technology. She was of the view that the Pakistani skilled workforce could play an important role in bridging the gap of the manpower shortage in the EU market and the rest of the world.
She welcomed the EU’s commitment to launch a Pak-EU dialogue on migration and mobility next year. To another question regarding the investigation into the death of senior journalist Arshad Sharif, she said that Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kenya has made her best efforts to bring his dead body back home, while the government of Pakistan has sent an investigation team to probe into the circumstances leading to his death.
According to her, the investigations are underway and the government will get to the bottom of the case. While speaking on the occasion, EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs, Ylya Johansson said that Pakistan was an important and strategic partner of the EU and the bloc was committed to further strengthening its 60 years relationship with Pakistan.
Ylya appreciated Pakistan’s performance in checking cross-border crimes and measures taken by the LEAs’ at the Pak-Afghan border to curb terrorism, smuggling, trafficking, and other organized transnational crimes. She also acknowledged Pakistan’s hospitality in hosting millions of Afghan refugees for decades and expressed the EU’s readiness to help resolve the Afghan refugee issues. To another question regarding the killing of Arshad Sharif, Ylya said that the freedom of expression remains fundamental to democracy and has the utmost importance in Europe.