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Pak committed to granting MFN status to India: Gilani

Afzal Khan in Islamabad
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has reiterated that his government was committed to granting the most-favoured nation (MFN) status to India and vowed not to backtrack on the decision.

Talking to reporters, he said the government had mandated the Ministry of Commerce to hold talks with the Indian ministry to complete the requisite formalities.

He made it clear that the term most-favoured nation should not be misunderstood, as it meant treating India on a par with other countries in trade.

He said India enjoyed MFN status from 1947 to 1965 and it (India) restored that status to Pakistan in 1995, but Islamabad had not done so.

He said Pakistan would never compromise on national interests and was committed to resolving all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, with India through talks.

He told reporters that any reconciliation process in Afghanistan that did not take Pakistan on board would not be accepted by it.

Gilani claimed he was not surprised over the large turnout for Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party in Lahore. He said the numbers were an indication of the dissatisfaction with the Punjab government.

On the power crisis, he said Pakistan might receive 500MW electricity from India, with the possibility of a further 1,000 MW from Iran. Although agreements had been made, laying supply lines would take some time, he added. He took a dig at opposition parties for trying to topple his government on the load-shedding issue.

Meanwhile, Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal has said that India is a fast growing economy and neighbouring countries can benefit from it.

Speaking during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Sabharwal said there should be no doubt that India will treat Pakistan the same way it treats other trading partners. He said significant trading opportunities existed for both countries if the MFN status is fully explored. The Indian High Commissioner said trade between Islamabad and New Delhi could rise to $6-10 billion a year. He said secretary-level talks would soon be held to resolve any issues that might adversely affect trading prospects between the two countries. 





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