MR. MUHAMMAD SARWAR Former Governor Punjab, Pakistan

Excellencies, respectable members of business community and the team EVOLVE, Thank you for inviting me as a distinguished speaker at THANK EU 2017. Being at the forefront, I have been fighting the case for GSP PLUS status in the European Parliament. All the Ambassadors in Pakistan played a great role to put the case forward. There was always misperception about Pakistan and its people regarding various matters like gender equality, women empowerment, human rights, education and labor environment for working conditions in factories. We may not be
perfect, but as a Nation we are implementing all those twenty seven conventions; not to achieve the status of GSP PLUS but generally, and I also personally believe that it is the only way to the progress, prosperity and economic strength of our country. Fifty percent of our population belongs to women. Without their participation, Pakistan
or even any other country cannot grow. I feel pride in sharing that GSP PLUS status was awarded to Pakistan and I think we have benefitted ourselves from this status but I also believe that there is huge potential and we can do a lot more. In the same context, I think that the Government should extend more facilities to our business community and their voice in certain matters should also be heard. Although our export to the EU has reached thirty percent-yet with the collective effort of our business community, Government and also our people, we can increase the percentage of our exports. Talking about the issues Pakistan is facing nowadays, it has lost more than seventy thousand precious lives in their fight against terror and is a front line state that is fighting against terrorism. We have also lost almost 100 billion dollar in terms of revenue due to uncertainty, terrorist activities, law and order situation and a large number of refugees that we have from Afghanistan in our country. Unfortunately, it is very painful for me and the people of Pakistan that after giving so many sacrifices, still questions are raised about our integrity and commitment to deal with terrorism. I believe that the international communityshould recognize our Peoples along with our Army sacrifices in this regard but unfortunately there is little recognition about our contribution to deal with terrorism in our country. Henceforth, I would urge the European Ambassadors, who are present here today to put Pakistans case to the international community. Talking about others issues, there are 55 million people in the whole world that are out of School, Pakistan alone has a number of 25 million children out of school which is the percent of the total number of children in the world.

Unfortunately, those forty percent are not going to the schools. The children, who are supposed to be in schools, are working as child labor in the factories and in peoples houses. I think this is something in which the Government
and then people of Pakistan, all the Provincial Governments and the international community should help Pakistan in order to achieve better literacy rate.

Our population does not even have the access to clean drinking water. To your surprise, 1.1MN people lost their lives because of not being able to buy clean water; another issue where the international community can play a part for the betterment. Yet, I am grateful to the European Community for dealing with many incidents such as fighting against poverty, education, women empowerment etc. We really appreciate that and we would like to thank them for
this support. One thing that I always say is that you cannot bring prosperity and peace without justice. Justice is the key to achieve prosperity in our country. We are living in a global village now and whatever happens in Pakistan, affects the people all over the world. Therefore, we should be very careful while making decisions, particularly the people and countries that are considered powerful. Apart from todays event, I say it with a heavy heart that the American President, Mr. Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a gross violation of international law and United Nation Security Council. I expect that all the peace loving nations and everyone who believes in democracy and justice, fairness, equality, free speech; they should stand against this unmerited decision. I have never heard that the international community will reward the people who are violating human rights, who are not implementing UN resolutions, and unfortunately Americas decision, I believe is unlawful, illegal and the international community should stand against this decision together. Finally, I am sure that the Nations between
European Union and Pakistan will go strength to strength. I believe that we can grow our relationships, our economies and trade in our country but please understand that Pakistan is going through a very tough and critical time and we need not condemnation but the help from international community to deal with the menace of terrorism in our country.