Pakistan’s trade troubles seem likely to lessen as it has successfully secured an extension in the GSP-Plus (Generalised System of Preferences) status, which gets it special tax concessions for exports in the EU market, said Governor Punjab Chaudhary Mohammad Sarwar while talking to Daily Times. The extension in GSP-Plus status will help further increase Pakistan’s exports by 9.5 per cent, he said. “Today, I contacted more than 10 members of European Parliament including its Vice President Fabio Massimo Castaldo and thanked them for their active lobbying for support to Pakistan on two years extension in GSP-Plus status despite India’s worst resistance,” he said. He further added that he had held meeting with more than 30 members of European Parliament during his visit to Brussels in December last year for lobbying to get extension in GSP Plus status and European Parliament’s Vice President Fabio Massimo Castaldo had also paid his first ever visit to Pakistan on his request. After that, Alhamdulillah today Pakistan has managed to secure further extension in GSP-Status due to our well-conceived strategy. I have talked to European Parliament Vice President and other members and In Sha Allah it is a big gift for strengthening Pakistan’s economy, he said. Governor Sarwar, who is a former British MP from a Glasgow constituency, recently lobbied for the extension on his trip to Europe. “I met 36 members of the European parliament in just two days and almost all of them assured me of their support,” he said, adding that today we got good news regarding extension. No doubt his experience of, and connections in, European politics helped him explain Pakistan’s case, among others, to Vice President of European Parliament Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Chairman of European Parliament’s Committee for Foreign Affairs David Macallister, Secretary of State of Portugal Teresa Ribeiro and the Chairperson of European Parliament’s Committee for Human Rights. Following the governor’s trip, EP Vice President Fabio Massimo Castaldo visited Pakistan and spent two days in Lahore’s historic Governor’s House, which Ch Sarwar takes as proof that his efforts were well received. Fabio Castaldo also supported Pakistan’s position on Kashmir, condemning human rights violations in the Occupied Valley in harsh terms. “This was a great diplomatic victory for Pakistan,” according to the governor. The EU granted Pakistan the GSP-Plus facility in 2013, allowing exporters to pay zero taxes on certain categories of goods in the European market. Governor Sarwar believes Pakistan needed to do a little extra lobbying than usual for the extension considering the European Union’s own internal developments. After Brexit, he said falling back on his experience again, Pakistan lost British support in the European parliament. “So we had to make new alliances and forge new associations to get our point across.” He further added that the extension in GSP-Plus status is actually the world community’s confidence in successful economic policies, peace and stability in Pakistan under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Pakistan had increased its exports by 65 per cent and got benefits worth 15 billion dollars through an earlier extension in the GSP-Plus status and another benefit of 15 to 20 billion dollars is expected from the current extension that will prove to be momentous to further strengthen Pakistan economically and textile industry will create more job opportunities due to extension in GSP-Plus status. The extension in GSP Plus status shows that the EU members have shown their confidence over the economic policies of PM Imran Khan, said Ch Sarwar. “I played an important role last time when Pakistan got the GSP Plus status and this time I was also there to lobby for my country to get an extension in the status and we remained successful,” said Governor Punjab, while talking to this scribe. “Many of the European Parliament members have told me that India has been lobbying against Pakistan and on the matter of GSP-Plus, India has resisted it fully but failed in its mission,” he said. Pakistan’s efforts for environmental change; tree tsunami project; controlling narcotics smuggling; merger of FATA into KPK; Ehsaas Programme; Kartarpur Corridor Project; and legislation and measures to protect rights of women, children and transgender have widely been appreciated in the European Parliament. All including European Parliament are praising Pakistan for restoration of peace. Governor Punjab said that Pakistan’s role is exemplary in the Taliban-America Peace Deal, and “we pray that this peace deal may achieve success as peace in Afghanistan is indispensable for peace in the region.” He said that after extension in GSP-Plus status, In Sha Allah, European Parliament will also pass a resolution against controversial Indian citizenship law and Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir. Pakistan is stood by Kashmiris and Indian aggression in occupied Kashmir is being exposed vehemently to the world.