Foreign minister assures that top-most priority of Pakistan is to ensure uninterrupted dialogue with India. PHOTO: PID




the News Editorial


Pakistan has, in principle, decided to grant Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India.

This is an important step in improving trade ties between the two countries. India has already granted MFN status to Pakistan and recently also dropped its objection to Pakistan’s request for market access to the European Union at the World Trade Organisation forum.

Both steps will help create the environment for Pakistan and India to begin to explore new avenues for bilateral trade while overcoming the thorny issues that dominate mainstream discourse. It is time for Pakistan and India to focus on identified doables including moving to a negative list approach in tariff lines.
During the most recent commerce secretary, commerce minister and foreign minister level talks, an effort has been made to create institutional mechanisms and prepare a road map to make the peace process irreversible and structured and create an enabling environment for bilateral trade. Other proposals such as the trade of electricity and petroleum products between the two countries are also under discussion and one hopes that the feasibility, scope and modalities of such trading will be seriously considered.

With the granting of MFN status, India and Pakistan entering into a mutually agreed preferential trade arrangement to promote trade by extending tariff concessions on products of export interest to both countries has become a real possibility.
Up until now, India’s contention was that Pakistan should first honour its existing international commitments like granting MFN status to India as per the Agreement on South Asian Free Trade Area before exploring new trading regimes. Now that we may be about to cross this bridge, we can look ahead to greater cooperation on trade, which can certainly help lay the groundwork for movement on the more tricky issues.

Related Posts:

1. Moving the India-Pakistan Relationship Forward [1 of 2] 2. Moving the India-Pakistan Relationship Forward [2 of 2]
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  1. Pakistan-India relationship unfortunately is strictly in the hands of military establishments, and thus badly in need of political and diplomatic manoeuvrings to secure peace in the region. The blind race of arms specially the nuclear one has gravely risked the peace process. Those who said it is for deterrence, are fools of their own kind coz such kind of storage means you are establishing peace of region in the highest danger zone which may need only a slight triggering and the whole subcontinent would be wiped out from surface of the earth. Kargil and Bombay incidents were tried to be like that but some how they didn’t go that far. If the nuclear war somehow gets its way then there will be no return left for the people, which is why the people who initiated nuclear arms race, first save their assets in foreign country and then shift or demand foreign citizenship for their families on priority basis.
    Pakistan in this process of Talibanisation and or anti-talibanisations has lost control on its internal security matters and now they are trying to ease tension with India for next years, when they are planning to be in state of war with so called al-Qaeda and Taliban, they want friendship with their traditional rivals. But Indians have many bitter experiences from Pakistan, so I don’t think they would give undue favor on basis of such friendly remarks from our juvenile foreign minister.

    1. I agree with you Nazia when you say that unfortunately the process in South Asia is in the hands of military establishments, a bitter fact which has put Pakistan India peace process into constant jeopardy. Churchill had said, war is a thing which cannot be left to the generals to decide, but here in the subcontinent its mostly the generals that decide the war.

      Not that in the west, generals have no say. With lobbies such as of Neocons and the ultra right, its always the generals who hold sway over civilians even though lot of eyewash is assured so that public is convinced that they are a part and parcel of the decision making process in the high echelons of power of the States. Anyway, coming back to the subcontinent, your second part is bit off the line. If Pakistan did make mistakes, so did India too. The governments as well as the establishments [mainly the ICS Babus there in India and the CSS guys here] have never been able to come out of the partition syndrome and always viewed the other as an enemy. The fact though is that relations whether political, commercial or diplomatic between nations are two way affair.

      Neither would Pakistan like to sacrifice her interests nor would India. But with their respective positions intact, they still can prosper. Pakistan is importing so many items which India sells to third party and we import those goods from that third party at an exorbitant price. Same is with India. She too can buy so many goods directly from us. This is a symbiotic relationship, and so should it be always. There could be and there should be no element of party A using the party B and the vice versa. Such an eye for an eye attitude, a stupid mindset has lurched the subcontinent into perpetual animosity which has brought no benefit to either of them. I think old bickering must come to an end now.

      With better trade relations, higher cultural exchanges, people of both countries can understand each other better and thus reap the benefit of peaceful environment which the new century demands of us. I am pretty confident once this peaceful environment sets in, we can also solve our problems mutually. After all we had geographical disputes with Iran and China as well, but we did settle these boundary issues longtime ago and now enjoy a quite mutually beneficial relation with both of them.

    2. And terming Hina Rabbani Khar a juvenile is again off the line. Our young foreign minister has successfully concluded negotiations with her Indian counterpart, a sequel to her deliberations resulted in the visit of Pakistan’s commerce minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim whose delegation has come up with success too, resulting in Pakistan’s agreement to grant India the status of most favoured nation.
      In this regard I uploaded a two piece write-up by Mallika Paulraj. The write-up is an old one which I updated for WoP readers. If you haven’t read, please do read this now. This document provides an excellent road map for Pakistan India peace process.

    1. The term juvenile is vibrantly fit in the above comment as it shows approach of our establishment that they always pick charismatic personality for this post; as they need a decoration piece for this, instead of a proper and political negotiator who has experience in foreign affairs like his / her counterpart. I have told you our FM is like a beautiful puppet to attract media over her personality features instead of her verbal commitments which have already fed in their master plan.

  2. @ Anjaan, What u say about generals, the same is said by Pakistani generals too but fact remains, that in the subcontinent its mainly the generals who push the war mongering agendas because wars basically fertilize the soil of military men’s interests.

    Secondly you tempt to make wrong conclusion from what has been said. Nobody said anywhere that Pak generals are better than the Indians. I think such comparisons are of no value and significance but a manifest of naiveté. We in the subcontinent need to compete each other in innovation, excellence and output. This is the arena where we need to be rivaling each other and not the military arenas where there is nothing but hatred, animosity devastation and death of our rich cultural heritage.

    1. Wishing friendship ties and terms between India and Pakistan appears to be a simple and straight phenomenon but based on real intentions, it only comes in the minds of people who sincerely and seriously want to bring real development in their country.
      Here the strings are in hands of Generals who throughout consider India as their enemy since their childhood. From class 1 to war courses they are programmed to destroy India, only so if they mean friendship it means under the shadow of suspicion and with these germs of suspicion no long term planning of friendship is possible.
      It is worth mentioning that for the last 10 years or so Pakistan is facing threats from al-Qaeda and dealing with it. Instead of countering this menace nothing is done to use modern anti-terrorism methodology including its tools to safeguard internal security for us Pakistanis or to plan something to curb this wave after wave of extremism. Instead of doing this, in contrast to fight against the so called Taliban with the help of US AID, billions of rupees have been spent on modern arms and ammunition for a supposed war with India as a tit for tat strategy. Overhauling of F16, purchase of P3 Orions, modern submarines for Navy etc. have cost Pakistan more than their thoughts and these generals fill their pockets with commission or any other family package for them. The reasons of Wall Street strike exactly depict our situation but here ignorance of public is blessing or bliss for these generals who consider them super lords of Pakistan. I wish same movement could start here as well and it would be our best chance to get rid of this war culture, which has become our national slogan since 1947 and which has made us one of the most backward nations in the world.

  3. Only a leadership that can take the risk of solving the Kashmir issue in one stroke can turn the Pak army in other mode than it is at present. I hope such leadership will emerge soon.

  4. @ Dr. A. K. Tewari,

    Any leadership that can take the risk of solving Kashmir issue in one stroke can turn the Pak army in other mode…….. Well Dr. A. K. Tewari, if Kashmir issue can be solved in many strokes, still it would be the best thing but solving the issue just in one stroke is nothing but a wishful thinking. Neither would Pakistani nor the Indian leadership for a single moment wish to consider “a single stroke” for Kashmir.
    Mallika Paulraj in her very candid write up has suggested such practical strokes by which the thorny issue of Kashmir can gradually be settled between India and Pakistan.

  5. The desired change in Pakistan can be achieved by taking the help of the same army. But for that sake a man like Gen. Musharraf is needed.

    1. A change desired in the Pak army by Indians or same desired by the Paks in Indian army are nothing but day dreaming.
      As far Musharraf he played havoc with our economy, degraded his own army in the eyes of the people, gifted us suicide bombers, gas and power load shedding and acts of terrorism from which we still have not been able to get rid of. So Dr. Tewari, no more “shnaaps” please.

  6. The desired change in Pakistan can be achieve by taking the help of the same army . But for that sake Gen. Musharraf like Gen .is needed , Who demonstrated the world that he has guts to crush the religiou fangs of Islam .He may conduct many more required RED OPERATION in the contry to repeal the Blashphemy law from the constitution of Pakistan .

  7. @ Nazia, We pray to have a new face of Pakistan. That means the real face of Islam rather than what it is today in Pakistan and else where. A mutation is needed.

  8. I think Mush can push Pakistan’s claim to be identified in the community of nations as a sovereign state once again in the next five years.

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