Strasbourg: The new Governor of Punjab, Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, and Pakistan’s minister of state for commerce, Mr Khuram Dastgir Khan, met British MEP, Sajjad Karim in the European Parliament to discuss strengthening ties between the EU and Pakistan. Mr Karim, who is the founder and Chairman of the Friends of Pakistan group in the European Parliament, highlighted an improvement in the relationship between the two under Pakistan’s President, Nawaz Sharif, but said there was the potential for more. Sajjad Karim said the Governor, the Minister of State and I, had a frank conversation on the need to focus on strengthening the good link between the EU and Pakistan. The EU is one of Pakistan’s biggest importer of goods and trade is set to increase if the GSP+ scheme gets the go ahead. “The Friends of Pakistan group and Ambassador Bhatti have been at the forefront of forging closer ties through the GSP+, through aid assistance for the floods of 2010 and supporting cooperation with the EU-Pakistan five year plan, he further added. Sajjad said that there has been a renewed focus from the EU in dealing with Pakistan and assisting the country to flourish. I am pleased that there are many in Pakistan, such as Governor Sarwar and Minister Khan, who recognise the need to work closely to bring a net benefit for both parties. The British Conservative MEP and his Friends of Pakistan group has strongly endorsed Pakistan to be a part of the GSP+ trade preference scheme which allows greater access to EU markets. The meeting was hosted by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the EU, Munawar Saeed Bhatti, in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. He expressed it a delight to organise this meeting with Sajjad Karim MEP. Both the Governor and Minister Khan found it extremely useful speaking to Mr Karim and understanding the key issues on bilateral relations from an EU perspective, Mr Bhatti added. Governor Sarwar is the 35th governor of Punjab and took his oath to office in August this year. While Minister Dastgir Khan was appointed in June and currently holds the portfolios of Commerce, Textile Industry and Privatisation.