‘MFN status to India should not be made an issue’

The Pakistan government recently decided to switch over to a negative list regime for trade with India.

Lahore: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
on Sunday said the move to give Most Favoured Nation-status to
India should not be made an issue as Pakistan is interested in
boosting trade with neighbouring countries.

"We should better rename the MFN, then I think this issue
will be resolved," Gilani said jokingly during an interaction
with a group of journalists at his residence in Lahore this

He said there seemed to be an issue with the nomenclature
of MFN.

"We are interested in trade as we are doing it with other
neighbouring countries like China," he said in response to a

The Pakistan government recently decided to switch over to
a negative list regime for trade with India, paving the way
for giving MFN-status to the neighbouring country by the
beginning of next year.

Under the negative list regime, Pakistan will not allow
the import of only 1,209 items from India.

Responding to a question about progress in the dialogue
process with India, Gilani said: "Both countries cannot afford
wars. All outstanding issues should be resolved through

Gilani said Pakistan never sought an apology from the US
for the cross-border air strike that killed 24 Pakistani
solidiers in November last year.

"There had never been such a precondition for improving
relations with the US," he said.

The Parliamentary Committee on National Security had
finalised recommendations for revamping ties with the US and
these would be presented before a joint session of Parliament
for implementation.

"For the first time in history, the Parliament is going to
formulate Pakistan`s foreign policy," he said.

To a question about the functioning of a political cell in
the ISI, Gilani said he had not yet met the new chief of the
spy agency, Lt Gen Zahir-ul-Islam, and therefore could not say
anything concrete on the issue.


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