Punjab Governor Ch Muhammad Sarwar has regretted that the although the GSP Plus status given by European Union was likely to boost country’s exports up to $ 26 billion, Pakistan failed to exploit this vital opportunity.

Talking to journalists here at Circuit House and addressing the members of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association here on Friday, he added that the exports of Bangladesh shot up to $ 25 billion after attaining GSP Plus status but unfortunately Pakistan failed to benefit from this opportunity. He said that one million new jobs would be created in the country if the exports increased up to just $ 1 billion.

He said that the country was faced with challenges like power crisis and terrorism which badly affected national exports.

Supporting dialogue with those staging sit-ins, he said that all political parties would have to unite at one platform to steer the country out of prevailing crisis. He told the journalists that he attended three sessions of dialogue with the agitating parties and wanted the dialogue process to continue. He said that foreign investors shied away because of terrorism in the country while power crisis seriously hit country’s production capacity. He said that on one hand Pakistan Army was busy with operation Zarb-e-Azb for the protection of coming generations while on the other hand nation was faced with severe flood. “Keeping in view national interest, all political parties should unite at one platform,” he added.

He disclosed that biometric system would be used for conducting upcoming local government elections to close the chapter of rigging allegations for good. “We’ll have to ensure that no rigging allegations surface in future elections. Indians have 300 million voters but they do not level rigging allegations because of their electoral system,” he cited an example.

Answering a question on London Plan, he said that he did not believe in such conspiracy theories. Commenting on different media reports regarding his resigning from Governorship, he said that not all the news published in newspapers in Britain were believed by the readers. About Saraiki Province, he said that he believed in transferring powers to lower level and therefore he suggested to the government to hold local government elections. He said that the powers should be transferred to union council level like shifted to the provinces under 18th amendment.

Answering a question on results of by-election, he said that the existence of democracy lied in tolerance and accepting others’ mandate. He congratulated Malik Aamir Dogar and said that Javed Hashmi also fought bravely.

He said that sub-standard and fake seed of cotton was being sold in the market which badly affected per acre yield, also affecting national exports and budget of farmers. He revealed that the government had constituted a committee to import high quality seed.

Citing the example of Australia, Canada and India, he said that the farmers sowed just two and a half kilogram cotton seed in these countries and reaped 2,000 kilogram yield from one acre while our farmers sowed 10 kilogram seed and reaped just 700 kilogram cotton. He said that the substandard seed delivered heavy losses to the country and farmers. He assured the cotton ginners that red tapism would not be allowed to halt this project. He pointed out that just 250 companies traded cottonseed in India while in Pakistan their number stood at 750. “Majority of them are thugs and their licenses need to be cancelled,” he asserted. He declared that he would personally fight the case of traders and farmers. He assured PCGA members that he would talk to FBR for elimination of five per cent sales tax from seedcake.