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



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

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 question.

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 dialogue".

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.

PTI