7th Round of Pakistan-The Netherlands Bilateral Political Consultations
The 7th round of Pakistan-The Netherlands Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC) was held in The Hague today. Special Secretary (Europe) Dr. Aman Rashid and Director-General for Political Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands, Mr. Thijs van der Plas, led their respective delegations.
The two sides discussed the whole gamut of bilateral relations, including political, economic, trade and investment, climate change and people-to-people exchanges, as well as developments in their respective regions. While expressing satisfaction at the friendly and cordial nature of bilateral ties, the two sides agreed that high-level interactions were necessary for further strengthening the bilateral relations. Pakistan side stated that it was looking forward to a visit by the Dutch Minister for Trade, Ms. Sigrid Kaag, along with a trade delegation in the near future to give further boost to trade ties between the two countries. The two sides expressed satisfaction at the level of cooperation at the international fora, including at the UN and agreed to continue supporting each other.
The Special Secretary briefed the Dutch side on the political and economic developments in Pakistan, including the improved business climate and Ease of Doing Business. Special Secretary remarked that the Netherlands is a major export destination for Pakistani products. He encouraged Dutch side to take advantage of the investment opportunities created by business-friendly policies of the government by increasing their investments in existing sectors as well as diversifying it to non-traditional areas like IT and industrial zones being planned under CPEC. The Special Secretary reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to the 27 conventions and stated that Pakistan was hoping for continued Dutch support in the ongoing GSP Plus review.
The two delegations exchanged views on important global and regional issues.Special Secretary apprised the Dutch side on Pakistan’s role in controlling the global rise of Xenophobia, particularly Islamophobia, through promoting inter-faith harmony at various global fora. He stated that the two sides should jointly work in controlling the fallout of these phenomenon, particularly in Europe.
The Dutch side was briefed on the Indian government’s aggressive posturing after its illegal and unilateral actions by changing the internationally recognized disputed status of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) and altering its demographic structure, both actions were unlawful under the relevant UNSC resolutions.Pakistan side underlined that the international community must stress upon India to lift the curfew and stop the ongoing gross violations of Human rights in IOJ&K. It was emphasized that the world must play its required role in peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute according to the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The Dutch side was also briefed on Pakistan’s efforts aimed at supporting the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. It was emphasized that a politically negotiated settlement, led and owned by Afghans, was the only viable way forward. The Dutch side appreciated Pakistan’s constructive role in the Afghan peace process.
Mr. Thijs van der Plas gave an overview of the developments in the European region, including Brexit. He added that the Dutch government was closely monitoring the human rights situation in IOJ&K and expressed concern on the continuous curfew and information blackout in the valley for over 120 days. He hoped that the matter would be resolved soon through bilateral dialogue. Pakistan’s peace overtures towards India and efforts to promote religious tolerance especially in the wake of opening of the Kartarpur Corridor were appreciated by the Dutch side.
The next round of Pakistan-The Netherlands Bilateral Political Consultations will be held in Islamabad on mutually agreed dates.