By Shabbir Hussain
ISLAMABAD, Nov 14 (Diplomatic Star): Pakistan and the European Union have agreed to launch a comprehensive dialogue on migration and mobility.
The agreement was reached during a two-day visit of European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson to Pakistan. The commissioner held meetings with law enforcement bodies and UN agencies on a broader spectrum of bilateral questions on migration and security.
Pakistan and the EU wish to strengthen mutual cooperation in all areas relating to migration ranging from a regional point of view to international, said a news release on Monday.
“The European Union (EU) and Pakistan agreed to launch a comprehensive dialogue on migration and mobility. This will encompass all relevant aspects of migration management including legal pathways for migration to Europe and addressing irregular migration and human smuggling. The two sides agreed to continue enhanced cooperation on return, readmission and reintegration through the full and effective implementation of the Pakistan-EU readmission agreement, the release said.
Commissioner Johansson and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar agreed to intensify preparations for the launch of a Talent Partnership with Pakistan to facilitate working and living in interested EU Member States for suitably qualified Pakistani nationals.
Commissioner Johansson thanked Pakistani Government for their generosity in hosting 3 million Afghans, 1.3 million of whom are refugees.
The Commissioner held discussions with Federal Ministers and Secretaries of Interior; Overseas and Human Resource Development, Education and Professional Training about possibilities for legal and safe pathways of migration to Europe.
With Minister Rabbani Khar, Commissioner Johansson agreed to intensify the concrete bilateral cooperation in security, including counter-terrorism and fighting criminal networks including the fight against the smuggling of migrants.
The Commissioner visited Peshawar where she exchanged views with the Frontier Corps and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
She was briefed about the fight against terrorism and organised crime and on border management.
Commissioner Johansson agreed with the Minister of State that the first EU-Pakistan counter-terrorism dialogue since 2018 will be held in the beginning of 2023 in Islamabad.
A broad exchange of views on migration and Afghan refugees with several UN agencies completed the Commissioner’s first visit to Pakistan.