Success of first Friends of Pakistan Group reception
Posted, January 25, 2012 @ 13:00
Conservative legal affairs spokesman and chairman of the European Parliament Friends of Pakistan Group, Sajjad Karim MEP, successfully hosted the first reception for the group last night.
Mr Karim, also vice-chairman of the European Parliament Friends of the Commonwealth Group, opened the event with a speech urging both the EU and Pakistan to do more to work together:
"Both the EU and Pakistan need to step up their engagement with each other and take a more positive approach. The EU needs a distinct policy towards Pakistan, but it is important that it complements Pakistan's policy."
But he warned: "There is also a lack of engagement from Pakistan to connect with the EU. Pakistan only sees engagement in the prism of trade."
The Chairman of the European Conseratives and Reformists Group, Martin Callanan MEP, highlighted the real life effects extremism can have on the lives of the ordinary people as he spoke of the host Mr karim surviving the Mumbai attacks in 2008.
He said: "Saj knows about violent extremism. He had to deal with it first hand as he was trapped in the basement at the Taj Mahal hotel where gunmen roamed the building."
Gilles de Kerchove, the EU Counter Terrorism Coordinator, spoke of the two day EU-US experts' conference on Countering Violent Extremism in Pakistan and the Pakistani Diaspora Communities which was organised by the European Commission.
He said: "We need to learn how to work with the Diaspora. We held a similar conference with the Somali Diaspora and we were able to take on board a lot of knowledge and understanding. And now we are doing this with the Pakistani Diaspora."
The event was well attended by over 80 distinguished guests including:
- Gilles de Kerchove (the EU Counter Terrorism Coordinator),
- Zia Chaudhary (the Cordoba Foundation),
- representatives from the European Commission,
- the European External Action Service,
- representatives from the US Mission
- British MEPs.