Karachi: Relationship with Pakistan has always been hot and cold. Endeavour to improve bilateral relation has always been there but something or other happens at the time of implementation, halting the progress. In last few weeks, the Pakistan government was indicating on giving Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India on the tour of Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma to Pakistan. Despite that, no decision has been taken in Cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. The Pakistan government has said that more detailed discussions are required in this regard.

It is said that recently registered case against the Prime Minister in the Supreme Court of Pakistan has affected political situation in Pakistan that is billed to be prime reason behind suspension in giving MFN status. Since the Cabinet is having full trust on the Prime Minister, they cannot risk taking a decision favouring India.

On the other hand to promote bilateral trade, the Pakistani government has approved three agreements between the nations. According to the Pakistan government apart from the positive list there should be a negative list as well for the imported products from India. Hence apart from 650 products, Pakistan has agreed upon importing rest all products from India. At present Pakistan allows imports of 1960 products from India. Pakistan has also ensured MFN status by December 2012.

Pakistan does not seem bullish on giving MFN status to India in the Cabinet meeting. It is another matter though that Pakistan may be benefitted most by giving MFN status to India. India has already given MFN status to Pakistan. By giving MFN status to India, bilateral trade between India and Pakistan will come under the ambit of World Trade Organisations (WTO).

India and Pakistan Inc are not heavily disappointed with the decision. FICCI Chairman R V Kanoria has said that it would have been great if MFN status had been given. With suspension it has been cleared that the Pakistan government is not operating as per the expectations of corporate world. 

CII president B Muthuraman has said that the Pakistan government cannot delay decision on giving MFN status to India for a long time. Last year Pakistan government had announced that they will remove all barriers for bilateral trades between the neighboring countries.

According to sources, the Pakistan government will think over proposal only after the disposition of Prime Minister’s case in the Supreme Court. In the proposal of the Commerce Minister of Pakistan, Pakistan will not import food and agriculture products, minerals, chemicals, pharmacy, plastic, rubber, wood, paper, steel, iron, clothes, auto products from India. Apart from the above mentioned products every other product will be allowed for imports from India.  However Pakistan has proposed to withdraw this negative list from December 2012 onwards.