The meeting was attended by subject specialists, labour representatives and civil society activists.
According to a press release by HRCP, Senior economic analyst Nasir Jamal briefed the meeting on the steps taken by the government and the trade chambers for the implementation of the GSP Plus terms and appreciated the work done by both the government and the textile exporters but stressed on the need for greater collaboration between them not only at the national and provincial levels but also at the district level as no side alone could accomplish the task of complying with the GSP Plus conditionalities. He also pleaded for efforts to mobilize the industrial labour to back the official-trade drive.
“The labour representative launched a strong attack on the government and employers both for denying workers relief from exploitation. They said the trade unions were being suppressed, wages were low (the workers were denied the minimum wage and EOBI was not fair in working out their pensions), and that labour would play its due role in realizing GSP Plus goals if their rights were respected”, the release read.
HRCP stated that the representative of the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Lahore Chamber of Commerce Jamil Naz complained of lack of integrity and seriousness all around. This coupled with corruption in all fields of life and wrong development priorities was depriving Pakistan of its due share in the economic field.
“While the meeting agreed that it was in Pakistani people’s own interest to implement the 27 international conventions on human rights, labour rights, environment and corruption, Raza Ali, an authority on urban and social development , pointed out the need for Pakistan to fully subscribe to the 27 conventions, adopt domestic legislation to implement the treaties that were ratified and seek cooperation of trade/ industry sections that were not in the line of GSP Plus beneficiaries”, HRCP stated.
Senior professor and human rights activist Dr. Mehdi Hasan stated that success in meeting the GSP Plus goals, like other issues in the country, depend on good governance and political parties’ ability to establish a secular order that alone could enable the state to defend people’s rights.
The participants agreed with the proposition that success on the GSP Plus front required public support that could only be secured through a strong people’s awareness program and an amicable resolution of differences, the release stated.