Pak will not backtrack on MFN status: Khar

Positive signs have been witnessed in bilateral ties lately, including Pakistan`s decision to grant the MFN trade status to India.

Last Updated: Nov 09, 2011, 21:12 PM IST

Addu (Maldives): Noting that Indo-Pak ties
are "complex" and "complicated", Pakistan Foreign Minister
Hina Rabbani Khar on Wednesday said Islamabad is not backtracking on
its decision to normalise bilateral trade with New Delhi of
which Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status is a part.

Underlining that Pakistani military was an important
stakeholder in the country`s foreign policy, Khar said
Indo-Pak relations should "not be bogged down" by the past.

"We want tomorrow to lead today rather than yesterday to
define today and tomorrow," Khar said in this picturesque
city.

Asked about the confusing statements emerging from
Pakistan about the MFN status being given to India, Khar, who
is here for the SAARC summit, said emphatically, "We will not
backtrack on a cabinet decision. So let me categorically say
that and I don`t see a lot of room for confusion."

Explaining the process, she said, "It (MFN status) wasn`t
on a negotiating table with India that Pakistan had committed
to India and now Pakistan is backtracking."

"This was an internal process for Pakistan. And so
basically I can tell you categorically that the cabinet gave
its approval for normalisation of trade ties with India. Now
this includes many things... normalisation of trade ties is a
process which MFN is one of the many things in it," she said.

The minister argued that MFN is no status to be awarded
to another country and is just a way to end non-discriminatory
tariff regime between two countries.

Asked where she saw Indo-Pak ties going with the focus on
trade getting prominence, Khar said, "I don`t want to look at
it from the lens of a singular focus. Because that would not
be doing justice to the length and breadth of this
relationship which is complex complicated."

Khar said there is complete commitment from both sides.
"I can say this, I think I have always received reciprocation
of commitment to work in a positive way on this
relationships."

She talked about the ongoing dialogue process between the
two sides and said, "We are continuing to be involved in a
dialogue process, the next track is going to start very soon."

She said it was important to look at all elements.

"Each one of those elements are extremely important. I
don`t think you can pick and choose. You cannot afford to pick
and choose because if you pick and choose the easy things to
do and completely ignore or try and act as if other things
don`t exist, then you will fall in a deep turf very soon
because you can take some steps but eventually you will fall,"
a confident Khar said.

She added, "So you have to ensure that you work in a
manner where you are looking at all the issues as they exist."
Talking about perceptions that Pakistani army regulates
and guides the country`s foreign policy a combative Khar
tried turning the table the other way around.

"There is a perception in Pakistan that the military or
the establishment in India backtracked on the advancement
which was made in some issues, we were not able to resolve
them," she said.

Khar quickly added, "So there can be perceptions. It does
not have to be true perception."

She said every country`s foreign policy has many
stakeholders and the military happens to be one of those like
in India or the US and many other countries.

"So clearly they are important stakeholders. Between
these two countries, you had a past track record which does
not give us a lot of confidence and yet we don?t want to be
bogged down by history."

Calling herself as part of a slightly younger
dispensation, 33-year-old Khar said she would hate to bequeath
to the next generation "what was given to me by my forefathers
or elders or the generation ahead of me."

"I think we need to now foster (ties) but they cannot be
done in a vacuum. It has to be on some ground realities of
ensuring that what divides us is taken care of," she said.

PTI