Pakistan on Tuesday termed the report of the US State Department as ‘factually incorrect and misleading’ and said the country’s courts were independent and functioning in accordance with the constitution. Responding to media queries regarding the Investment Climate Statements for 2021 released by the US Department of State, the Foreign Office spokesperson said, “We take strong exception to the gratuitous and unwarranted comments made in the report on Pakistan’s judicial system”. “The judiciary in Pakistan is independent and the courts are functioning in accordance with the constitution and laws of the country. The allegations to the contrary are firmly denied as factually incorrect and misleading,” FO Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said. “As a vibrant democracy, the government of Pakistan firmly believes in the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the state,” he said, adding that there is no question of any coercion or pressure on Pakistan’s judiciary. “The baseless assertions made in the report are contradicted by innumerable decisions by Pakistani courts at all levels that meet the highest standards of judicial independence,” he said. He mentioned that while the statement acknowledged the progress made and reforms undertaken by Pakistan in improving its business and investment climate despite extremely difficult circumstances due to the pandemic, it “speculated on alleged shortcomings in Pakistan’s regulatory framework and based its conclusions on unverifiable sources”. He said mutually beneficial cooperation in the areas of economy, trade and investment with the international community including the US was one of the key priorities of the government of Pakistan.’We will continue to take steps to optimally realize Pakistan’s geo-economic potential’, he added. Meanwhile, responding to media queries regarding report by an Indian news agency speculating withdrawal of Pakistan’s GSP+ status, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said, “”The news item by an Indian news agency is fabricated and a continuation of the India’s malicious propaganda against Pakistan.India’s malicious smear campaign against Pakistan is well-known and independent organizations including EU DisinfoLab have established India’s credentials as purveyor of anti-Pakistan propaganda globally.Even after India’s disinformation campaign being unearthed globally, Indian state and obliging Indian media remain busy in concocting baseless stories against Pakistan. The recent rumours are yet another demonstration of India’s nefarious designs.” “Pakistan and the European Union (EU) maintain close high-level engagement through multiple dialogue mechanisms, and Pakistan remains committed for full implementation of the 27 International Conventions related to the GSP Plus. Pakistan has successfully completed three biennial reviews of GSP Plus and the fourth biennial review is currently underway. Currently, the European Parliament is on summer recess till autumn and there has been no discussion on Pakistan since April 2021,” he added.