Claim: Information Minister Attaullah Tarar said that the PTI approached the European Union to withdraw Pakistan’s GSP+ status.

Fact: Samar Saeed Akhtar, EU Press and Information Officer in Islamabad, denied receiving any official communication from PTI regarding Pakistan’s GSP+ status. Additionally, PTI has denied allegations of writing any such letter to the EU. 

GSP+ status

The Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) is a policy by the European Union (EU) that allows certain developing countries, like Pakistan, to export their products to EU markets without paying import duties. To qualify for this, countries must commit to upholding 27 international conventions on human rights, environment, and governance. 

Pakistan was awarded GSP+ status in 2014, which has been recently extended until 2027. This status helps Pakistan maintain competitiveness in European markets, especially during times of rising production costs like increasing fuel and power prices. Essentially, GSP+ encourages good governance and sustainable development by facilitating trade between Pakistan and the EU.

Fact or Fiction? 

On 13 March 2024, while addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Information Minister Attaullah Tarar claimed that the PTI had approached the European Union (EU) to get Pakistan’s GSP+ status revoked. 

“PTI spokespersons are getting instructions from jail to harm Pakistan and a conspiracy is being hatched so that the country’s GSP+ status is withdrawn,” Tarar claimed.

He added, “PTI has used the [lack of] facilities being provided to PTI founder [Imran Khan] in jail as an excuse to attack Pakistan’s GSP+ status.”

However, on the same day, the PTI denied the accusation that it conspired to get Pakistan’s GSP+ status withdrawn. Raoof Hassan, the party’s spokesperson, told Arab News, “We have not approached or written any such letter to the EU, and we have not ever thought of writing a letter. Why should we do that?”

In a post on X, PTI leader Zulfi Bukhari also categorically denied “writing ANY letter urging EU to revoke GSP plus status for Pakistan, nor is the party inclined to do so”.

On 14 March 2024, the EU also said that it had not received any “official communication” from the PTI on Pakistan GSP+ status, as reported by Arab News

Furthermore, EU Press and Information Officer in Islamabad, Samar Saeed Akhtar, confirmed to the publication, “We have not received any official communication from PTI regarding GSP+.”

On 15 March, the EU Ambassador to Pakistan, Riina Kionka, met with Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb. The official X account of the Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan, @EUPakistan, tweeted about the meeting, along with a photo. Discussions revolved around bilateral interests, including the EU’s GSP+ scheme, development assistance, and Pakistan’s economic revival plan.

While Soch Fact Check cannot confirm if there has been any informal communication on the matter, PTI has not officially requested a change in Pakistan’s GSP+ status.


Several media outlets reported the minister’s claim, including Dawn, Geo News, The News, The Nation and The Express Tribune.

The claim was posted as fact without attributing it to Tarar by The Pakistan Daily’s founder Hamza Azhar Salam, journalist Omar Quraishi and other users, here and here, on X.

On Facebook, the claim can be found here, here, here and here.

Conclusion: Contrary to Ataullah Tarar’s claim, the EU Press and Information Officer in Islamabad refuted receiving any official communication from PTI about revoking Pakistan’s GSP+ status. The PTI itself has denied any involvement in writing such a letter to the EU.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x