December 2nd, 2021 


The European Union has backed the recently held Asma Jahangir Conference in Lahore after federal ministers alleged it received foreign funding to further a partisan agenda, reports Geo TV.

According to a report filed by Geo TV from Brussels, The European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson, in a statement recalled that the European Union had been participating in the event since its inception in 2018, in memory of renowned human rights activist Asma Jahangir.
“The EU, together with other foreign missions, has been supporting the Asma Jahangir conference since its inception in 2018 in honour of the legacy of the human rights icon and lawyer,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

“Human rights and the rule of law are essential to the EU’s foreign policy. Freedom of expression is key for a democratic, pluralistic, and dynamic society,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also noted that the EU and Pakistan are engaged in continuous dialogues on human rights, governance, and rule of law.

The spokesperson said the Asma Jahangir Conference was a unique platform for the legal community, human rights experts, journalists, students, and the wider public to discuss the challenges related to human rights and the rule of law.

Like previous years, politicians from all major parties had been invited and they also participated in the event, in addition to prominent members of the judiciary, the spokesperson said.

” (It) is essential that the cause of human rights and dignity as well as governance is supported and advanced by as many political actors as possible,” they said.

The spokesperson noted that the EU ambassador to Pakistan had participated in two panel discussions — the opening with Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, and a discussion on Afghan refugees.

In the second panel discussion, Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudry was a keynote speaker, but he had declined to partake in the conference.

The federal minister had said, on November 21, that he turned down the invitation to the event as he was informed that an “absconder” (Mian Nawaz Sharif) was also invited to speak at the event.

“Conference addressed by CJP and senior judges is concluding with speech by an absconder. It’s nothing but a contempt of judges and the judiciary,” Chaudhry tweeted.

Chaudhry also took a swipe at a convention held by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, where PMLN’s vice president Maryam Nawaz Sharif had given a speech ,saying “A series of conferences held in Lahore and Islamabad were foreign funded.”
Presently the European Union is funding various projects in partnership with the Government of Pakistan. Along with its member countries, the EU provides Pakistan with about €700 million per year for development and humanitarian assistance.


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