Tag Archives: MFN

Pak army stopped Nawaz Sharif govt from trade deal: India

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NEW DELHI: UPA-2 will perhaps best be remembered for a series of financial scams and the so-called policy paralysis but as it prepares to sign off, it is now hobbled by its Pakistan policy.

Stung by what India sees as Pakistan’s refusal to allow any concession to the outgoing government for normalizing trade relations, senior government sources here told TOI Islamabad’s policy over the issue was being dictated by Pakistan’s military establishment. They said the upcoming elections are now certain to mark the termination of the idea that trade can lead to peaceful relations between the two countries.

“The several recent flip-flops made by the Nawaz Sharif government on the issue has greatly reduced the its credibility with Indian negotiators who have concluded that in addition to political and security policy, the Pakistan government does not even have the ability to go against the Pakistan military dictates on issues related to economic reforms,” said a top government official, in a reaction to Sharif’s comment on Monday that MFN status to India has been delayed because of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Read more » THE TIMES OF INDIA
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-army-stopped-Nawaz-Sharif-govt-from-trade-deal-India/articleshow/32699101.cms

 

Islamic militants threaten war on Pakistan over Kashmir

Islamic militants fighting Indian forces in Kashmir will declare war on Pakistan if it weakens its traditional support for their jihad, their senior leader has warned.

By Dean Nelson, New Delhi

Syed Salahuddin, leader of the United Jihad Council, an umbrella group of Kashmiri militant groups which includes the Lashkar e Taiba, said they had been fighting “Pakistan’s war in Kashmir” but Islamabad now cares more about trade than jihad.

“We (militants) are fighting Pakistan’s war in Kashmir and if it withdraws its support, the war would be fought inside Pakistan,” he said in an interview with the Arab News.

His threat emerged as India and Pakistan’s leaders prepare for talks in Islamabad on Monday on proposals to withdraw their troops from the disputed Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battlefield close to the Line of Control which divides Kashmir.

Salahuddin and other Kashmiri militant leaders fear Pakistan’s leaders will withdraw its long-standing support for the military strikes against Indian forces in Kashmir as part of its diplomatic campaign to reduce trade barriers and ease movement between the old enemies.

Pakistan’s readiness to grant ‘Most-Favoured Nation’ trading status to India and the opening of new ‘cross-border’ trade routes in Kashmir had sent a message to insurgent leaders like his Hizbul Mujahideen that “Pakistan wants business with India.” Pakistan has long used group’s like Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar e Toiba as part of its proxy war with India over control of Kashmir, with military protection for their training camps in ‘Azad’ or ‘Free’ Kashmir.

Continue reading Islamic militants threaten war on Pakistan over Kashmir

India-Pakistan Trade: Making Borders Irrelevant

By: Tara Beteille, co-authors: Kalpana Kochhar

In our blog post last November, we discussed Pakistan’s decision to grant India most favored nation (MFN) status. We were hopeful about the gains from easier trade between the two, but noted the many stumbling blocks in between. In the past 20 weeks, both countries have made serious efforts to address these blocks. Things are looking good. Here is an update.

Both countries mean business

In addition to the goodwill gesture of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari visiting India this April and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh considering visiting Pakistan, important issues addressed include:

  • Pakistan issued an order in March 2012 to move from a positive list of 2,000 items for India to a negative list of 1,209 banned items. Pakistan intends to phase out the negative list altogether and formally give India MFN status by the end of 2012.
  • India, which formally granted Pakistan MFN status in 1996 (but maintained barriers) has agreed to reduce its sensitive list of 865 items by 30% within four months. India has also agreed in principle to allow Pakistani foreign direct investment in the country.
  • Both countries recently agreed to allow yearlong multiple-entry visas for business visitors, with visitors allowed to enter and exit through different cities.
  • The two countries have agreed to allow each other’s central banks – the Reserve Bank of India and the State Bank of Pakistan – to open bank branches across borders to facilitate financial transactions and ensure smooth trade.
  • A second checkpost gate was inaugurated this March at the Attari-Wagah border to ease road traffic between the two countries. The checkpost, with elaborate security features and capable of accommodating 600 trucks at a time, will provide upgraded infrastructure, including new storage go-downs, wide roads, and a luxurious passenger terminal.

Opportunities and gains

Making borders irrelevant can have far-reaching effects for economic prosperity across sectors in Pakistan and India. Consider a key driver of growth: electricity. South Asia’s recent More and Better Jobs flagship report estimated that industrial load shedding in Pakistan has resulted in the loss of 400,000 jobs. Trade between energy surplus and deficit regions could counter such losses — indeed, Pakistan is already in negotiations with India to import up to 500 MW of electricity.

Continue reading India-Pakistan Trade: Making Borders Irrelevant

Why India can’t give up Siachen

By: Vikram Sood

The nation cannot afford to repeat the strategic mistakes of the past — like halting our advance at Uri in 1948 or not capturing Skardu; or giving up Haji Pir in 1966; or returning 93,000 troops and territory in 1972

The strategic advantage accruing to India in Siachen should not be given up for apparent short-term political gains. Giving up Siachen as a gesture of friendship would also mean that its recapture would be extremely expensive to India in men and material, says Vikram Sood.

Continue reading Why India can’t give up Siachen

JamaatuDawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed feels safe in Pakistan

JuD chief appreciates freedom in Pakistan

By Rana Tanveer

LAHORE: Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed has appreciated the freedom in Pakistan to spread the message of Islam.

“No other territory in the world can match Pakistan. The country is a blessing from Allah Almighty and we should understand conspiracies [against it] by non-Muslims,” Saeed said in a statement issued on Sunday.

He said that the JuD did not believe in modern nationalism. “Pakistan’s security is based on the Kalma Tayyaba only,” he asserted. “The internal and external threats that Pakistan is facing can only be tackled through the methodology of the State of Madina.”

Reiterating the JuD’s stringent anti-India and anti-America stance, he said that the people of Pakistan were not ready to accept the Most Favoured Nation trading status for India and the terrorist attacks of Nato. “It is a matter of great regret that our rulers are afraid of severing their relationships with Europe and America.”

Saeed said that American forces are facing a humiliating defeat in Afghanistan. “Islam will emerge as a great power in the near future,” he said.

Criticising the government, he said that the rulers are trying to avert the war instead of taking counter-measures on conspiracies against Pakistan. “They must take national solidarity and sovereignty seriously and bravely defend Pakistan.”

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Courtesy: The Express Tribune

No mention of the Munabao-Khokrapar trade option in India-Pak trade talks!?

Normal trade ties with India from February

By Jawed Naqvi

NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan agreed on Tuesday to resume normal trade ties in February, paving the way to end decades of political mistrust and military rivalry.

“We have turned the corner,” Pakistan’s Commerce Secretary Zafar Mehmood told reporters at a joint news conference with his Indian counterpart Rahul Khullar. “We are talking of a complete normalisation roadmap.”

Mr Mehmood said in a separate TV interview that Pakistan’s decision to accord India a most favoured nation (MFN) status would be conveyed officially to the world trade body before February. Misgivings about the move among ‘stakeholders’ in Pakistan who fear open trade with India would be allayed by then, he said. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

If and when security establishemnt is ready, MFN will move forward …

Pak’s turnaround on MFN: PM says status not granted to India

Islamabad, Nov 5: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has made it clear that Pakistan has not granted the Most Favoured Nation status to India, saying the Commerce Ministry has only been tasked to move forward on the issue in bilateral negotiations. …

Courtesy: http://news.oneindia.in/2011/11/05/paistan-on-mfn-pm-says-status-not-granted-to-india.html

Trading with the enemy. – By Najam Sethi

The granting of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) to India has confounded certain long-established political and ideological vested interests. The story of why Pakistan denied this status to India for two decades and why it has relented today is worth telling because it sheds light on a critical dimension of Pakistan’s “national security doctrine”. ….

Read more » The Friday Times