`Move to give MFN status to India misconstrued`

Pakistan PM Yousuf Raza Gilani played down his country giving Most Favoured Nation to India.

Updated: Feb 19, 2012, 22:25 PM IST

Islamabad: The issue of Pakistan giving
India Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status is being misconstrued
though it is only meant to ensure that there is no
discrimination in trade between the two countries, Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza said o Sunday.

Gilani made the remarks while interacting with
journalists during a private visit to Pir Jo Goth in southern
Sindh province.

He said a similar status had already been given to 100
other countries across the world. The federal cabinet had
allowed the Commerce Ministry to negotiate with its Indian
counterpart on the issue of trade balance, he said.

The government will never compromise on the country`s
national interests while taking steps like giving India MFN
status, he said.

Gilani noted that since his government came to power in
2008, trade across the Line of Control (LoC) had been recorded
at Rs 15 billion.

The annual trade between China and India, despite their
border dispute, was to the tune of USD 60 billion, he pointed

Several extremist groups, including the Jamaat-ud-Dawah,
have opposed the government’s decision to give MFN status by
the end of the year. They have threatened to launch protests
if the government goes ahead with the move.

Following talks between Indian Commerce Minister Anand
Sharma and his Pakistani counterpart Makhdoom Amin Fahim in
Islamabad last week, the two sides agreed to switch over to a
negative list regime for trade by the end of February.