Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Pakistan Deserves Recognition For Improvements In Human Rights

21st April 2004

The European Parliament has voted to ratify the trade agreement between Pakistan and the EU. Pakistan's 3rd Generation Co-operation Agreement with the EU included controversial human rights clauses which some MEPs considered as sufficient reason to suspend the agreement.

Charles Tannock MEP said that while he had been critical of Pakistan in the past, it was important to recognise positive moves recently made by the country.

Dr. Tannock, Conservative Foreign Affairs Spokesman in the European Parliament, said:

"I have criticised Pakistan in the past over persecution of Christian and Ahmadi Muslims, and of the exporting of nuclear technology to rogue states like North Korea.

But Pakistan has made encouraging moves in human rights and especially regarding the rights of women, which deserve recognition and reward. They have also worked with India on a peaceful rapprochement, recently visible in the successful cricket tour.

Only three years ago, the two states were on verge of a war - now India is prospering and wishes for a stable economic climate within the region. Pakistan is fighting a war against Al Qaeda. We cannot afford to punish the ordinary citizen of Pakistan or undermine President Mushariff in his challenging task of leading his country back to democracy. Cancelling the trade agreement at this juncture would send the wrong signals and destabilise an already volatile region."