Pakistan envoy meets Chidambaram; says no U-turn on MFN

November 4th, 2011 - 10:33 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, Nov 4 (IANS) Pakistan Friday made it clear that it was not backing off from granting the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India, saying it was part of the process of normalisation of relations between the two countries.

The assertions came from Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik, who met Home Minister P. Chidambaram during the day.

“The process of normalisation is already under way and the grant of MFN status is part of that normalisation process. There is no question of U-turn about it,” Malik told reporters here, coming out of his meeting with Chidambaram.

Pakistan Nov 2 announced that its cabinet has decided to grant the MFN status to India, but hours later it issued several conflicting statements. Chiefly, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said parliament could reverse the decision on granting MNF status to India if it did not like it.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma spoke to his Pakistani counterpart, but India is yet to receive any formal communication on the MFN status from Islamabad.

High Commissioner Malik said the Pakistani cabinet had mandated the country’s commerce ministry to carry forward the process of normalisation of bilateral trade relations and Commerce Secretary Zafar Mahmood would visit India later this month.

“The commerce secretary of Pakistan will visit India as part of the ongoing discussion and dialogue towards the middle of this month. He will take the process forward,” he said.

India granted the MFN status to Pakistan way back in 1996.

The two carry out a restricted bilateral trade worth only $2.65-billion. Pakistan has till date allowed import of only 1,945 items, but India allows import of all but 868 items on its “sensitive list”.

–Indo-Asian news Service
ncb/rn/vt

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