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'Pak intends to give MFN status to India'

world Updated: Apr 30, 2011 11:58 IST

Pakistan's intention to extend the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India is "a milestone", a leading Pakistani daily said on Saturday.

An editorial in the Dawn said Pakistan has expressed its intention to extend MFN status to India.

Indian Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar and his Pakistan counterpart Zafar Mahmood led the April 27-28 talks aimed at boosting business between the two countries.

Trade talks were suspended in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008 that left 166 people dead. India-Pakistan ties were considerably strained following the terror attack.

Pakistan's commerce secretary has "assured" Indians of the coveted MFN tag by October this year, the paper said.

"There appears to be no mention of an Indian wish for a transit route to Afghanistan and beyond, and Pakistan says it did not raise the issue of Indian opposition to the EU decision to provide duty-free access to Pakistani goods.

"This brings out the truly bilateral nature of the two-day talks."

The editorial said the MFN status "is the milestone the current Pakistani and Indian negotiators are looking for right now, and they will claim they have earned it through assiduous work and breaking old taboos".

It went on to say that two countries have taken a long time to have "an earnest discussion on trading items such as electricity and petroleum products. They promise to do so in the coming months".

"Advancing to the MFN stage may, to an extent, depend on the progress made in these areas which have a special significance for Pakistan. Pakistanis will also be keeping a close eye on how many non-tariff barriers India can remove," it added.