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Pak grants MFN status to India

Pakistan's move to grant MFN status to India comes ahead of the November 10-11 SAARC Summit in Maldives, where the Prime Ministers of the two countries are expected to meet.

A Pakistani Ranger (right) and an Indian Border Security Force Jawan at the Wagah border. A Pakistani Ranger (right) and an Indian Border Security Force Jawan at the Wagah border.
Pakistan on Wednesday decided to grant the Most Favoured Nation status to India to boost bilateral trade, but made it clear that the move would not in any way affect its stand on the Kashmir issue.

"After a lengthy discussion and a briefing by the Commerce Secretary, the Cabinet unanimously approved the Commerce Ministry's summary to grant Most Favoured Nation status to India," Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said.

The MFN status, which means that Pakistan will give trade treatment to India at par with its other partners, is likely to boost the bilateral economic ties. India had granted the MFN status to Pakistan way back in 1996.

In 2010-11, India-Pakistan trade stood at $2.6 billion.

Pakistan's move to grant MFN status to India comes ahead of the November 10-11 SAARC Summit in Maldives, where the Prime Ministers of the two countries are expected to meet.

All stakeholders in Pakistan, including the military, were "on board" for the decision to grant MFN status to India, Awan said.
"The decision will lead to economic benefits and it is in the national interest," she said.

During the meeting of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, several ministers raised concerns on issues like Kashmir which were discussed at length, Awan said.