Pak postpones MFN status to India

HAGUE: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Monday that the granting of Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India had been postponed.
He said the decision to grant MFN status to India was postponed because of a lack of consensus. Sharif said he had directed his team to talk to all stakeholders and develop consensus on the matter.
“We also deferred this due to elections in India because we did not want to favor single political party in India”, Sharif said.
Speaking to mediapersons after holding a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry during the sidelines of a two-day nuclear summit, Sharif said the Kashmir issue should be resolved, adding that India showed reluctance every time Pakistan raised the matter with it.
“We have said somebody else can also help us in resolving the issue. But India is also not in agreement on that. So how can talks proceed? How can such issues be solved? I said this is for the US also to think. When you tell us that normal relations should be there, we understand that but your role comes in also.
“If we cannot solve an issue with India bilaterally, a third power should be there to play a role in moving the dialogue forward,” Sharif said.
In 2012, Pakistan had committed itself to giving the MFN status to India after a strong persuasive note by the World Bank, and having done all the necessary spadework in this regard, opted to miss its own deadline of December 31, 2013 owing to domestic opposition and reciprocal response from New Delhi.
Talking about the mediation with the Taliban he said the government was holding talks with sincerity and the committee to hold talks on behalf of the government would visit North Waziristan on Tuesday where direct talks would take place with the Taliban leadership.
Answering another question Sharif said that peace in Afghanistan was the need of Pakistan and also welcomed the US move of halting drone strikes in Pakistani territory.
Earlier, Sharif met US Secretary of State John Kerry and both sides reaffirmed their desire to continue the strategic dialogue, covering a wide range of areas.
US Secretary of State said his country has great confidence in Pakistan’s nuclear security and will continue to work with Pakistan in fighting terrorism.
In brief remarks to the press he also assured cooperation to Pakistan to help meet its energy needs.
Kerry said the two countries were “deeply engaged” and said the two sides will focus on the issue of terrorism, counter terrorism, global energy besides Afghanistan and the bilateral Pakistan-United States relations.
Sharif said there were a lot of challenges for his government that came into power nine months back, however measures were afoot to address these.
He also mentioned his meeting with US President Barack Obama a few months ago in Washington DC and said the dialogue with the US will continue.
John Kerry mentioned his meeting in Washington with the Adviser to Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz recently and said he was looking forward to his meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar soon.
The Pakistan Prime Minister is accompanied on the trip by his Special Assistant Syed Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.—Agencies