Pakistan, EU set the tone for progress through strategic cooperation

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini of the European Union hold strategic dialogue in Islamabad on 25 March. (Photo Courtesy – Pakistan Foreign Office)
Updated 25 March 2019

Pakistan, EU set the tone for progress through strategic cooperation

  • FM Qureshi meets with global body's top official to finalize details in Islamabad
  • Agree to work together in several major sectors

ISLAMABAD: In order to set the wheels of sustained development in motion, Pakistan and the European Union have agreed to work toward a strategic partnership in the fields of investment, energy and trade, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Monday.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met with the EU's High Representative and Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, after his arrival in Islamabad on Monday.

After the meeting, Mogherini held talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi.

President Alvi said that Pakistan’s business environment has improved due to the government’s attempts to facilitate foreign investments, inviting the EU community to invest in the country.

In a statement released by his office, Alvi welcomed the recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, adding that it could “help create a balance between exercising the right to freedom of expression and incitement/hatred towards religious views and faith".

“The president emphasized that Pakistan strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations whether perpetrated by individuals, groups or states,” the statement read.

President Alvi noted that Pakistan’s exports to the EU have increased by 38 percent, while EU’s exports to Pakistan have grown by 33 percent since the inception of the GSP Plus Scheme in 2014.

“Pakistan sees GSP Plus Scheme as constructive engagement for the betterment of its economy and values EU’s development assistance to Pakistan,” the statement said.

According to the statement, Mogherini said that there is huge potential for economic and trade relations between Pakistan and EU which needs to be fully explored and utilized.


‘Baby don’t go’: American singer Cher in Pakistan to bid farewell to Kaavan the elephant 

Updated 27 November 2020

‘Baby don’t go’: American singer Cher in Pakistan to bid farewell to Kaavan the elephant 

  • The 'world's loneliest elephant' has languished in the Islamabad zoo for 35 years and lost his partner in 2012
  • Cher and animal rights groups have campaigned for years for the elephant’s better treatment and freedom 

ISLAMABAD: American singing sensation Cher called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday during a visit to Pakistan to celebrate the departure of Kaavan, dubbed the “world’s loneliest elephant,” who is all set to leave an Islamabad zoo for a sanctuary in Cambodia.

Cher and other rights groups have for years lobbied for the better treatment and release of Kaavan, who has languished in the Islamabad zoo for 35 years. He was diagnosed by veterinarians as both overweight and malnourished earlier this year, and also suffers behavioral issues. He will leave for Cambodia on Sunday.

“Appreciating her efforts in retiring Kavan to an elephant sanctuary, the Prime Minister thanked Cher for her campaign and role in this regard,” a government handout said. “The Prime Minister observed that it was indeed a happy moment for all of us that after giving joy and happiness to the people of Islamabad and Pakistan for about 35 years, Kavan will now be able to retire with other elephants in a specialized sanctuary in Cambodia.”

Khan also invited the singer to contribute towards the government's initiative to expand its tourism and environmental programs, “to which she kindly agreed.”

“On this occasion, Cher applauded the Prime Minister for his government's key initiatives for ensuring a cleaner and greener Pakistan,” the statement added. “She also offered her support for furthering the green initiatives through her organization 'Free the Wild' and thanked the Prime Minister.”

Cher took up Kaavan’s cause and has been a loud voice advocating for his resettlement. Four Paws International, a Vienna-based animal welfare group, has also led the charge to save Kaavan and provided the medical treatment needed before he can travel. The battle for his relocation began in 2016.

Even after he’s in Cambodia, Kaavan will require years of physical and even psychological assistance, Four Paws' representatives have said.

Because of the abysmal living conditions blamed on systemic negligence, Pakistan’s high court in May ordered the closure of Marghazar Zoo in the capital of Islamabad, where Kaavan has lived for much of his life. A medical examination in September showed Kaavan’s nails were cracked and overgrown — the result of years of living in an improper enclosure with flooring that damaged his feet.

The elephant has also developed stereotypical behavior, shaking his head back and forth for hours, which the medical team of wildlife veterinarians and experts blamed on his utter boredom.

For the past three months, a Four Paws team including veterinarian Dr. Amil Khalil and the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board has been readying Kaavan to leave. Members of the welfare group will also accompany him to the sanctuary.