Pakistan Says Won’t Abolish Death Penalty, Rejects GSP+ Condition

Pakistan Says Won’t Abolish Death Penalty, Rejects GSP+ Condition
Rejecting the condition put forward by the European Union (EU) for the extension of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status for 2024, Pakistan has refused to abolish the death penalty due to 'legal and political implications'.

Islamabad is now increasing dialogue with the EU and is seeking a waiver to overcome this requirement, according to a report by The Express Tribune.

For the past seven years, Pakistan has been a beneficiary and a major recipient of the GSP+, which is an entrenched trade and development policy instrument that was first established in 1971. As part of this scheme, Pakistan enjoys zero duty on several products, however this is set to expire on December 31, 2023.

As per the current scheme, the EU monitors the progress of the beneficiary countries in the implementation of 27 international conventions, one of which is the abolition of the death penalty.

Since upon expiration of the current scheme, members will have to reapply, their progress on the conventions is given a lot of weightage.

According to sources, the next cycle of the scheme will possibly have additional conventions including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) – Individual complaints against State party in ICC – and First Optional Protocol to the International Convention Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – Individual complaints against State party in ICCPR-UNHRC.

A second optional protocol to the ICCPR requires countries to abolish the death penalty, and sources claim that Pakistan has not ratified any of the conditions on that front.

The attorney general’s office is of the view that ratification carries several legal and political implications. This is why Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif will engage with the presidents of the council and the commission to seek a waiver to the conventions.