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March 23, 2014



Foreign Office pours cold water on MFN status for India

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Ministry is not inclined to compromise on the issue of composite dialogue with India by giving importance to trade between the two countries while ignoring other issues, including Kashmir, it is learnt.
Despite the great enthusiasm of two of the federal ministers who are in favour of giving MFN status to India at the earliest, the foreign ministry has advised the prime minister that firstly, the present timing for such a move is not right and secondly, trade between Pakistan and India should grow with the simultaneous progress on other irritants between the two neighbours.
A high-level source in the foreign ministry confided to The News here on Saturday that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had been advised that the MFN status for India should be considered after the upcoming elections in India.
“We should move cautiously to draw maximum political advantage,” the source said, adding that offering such a status to India at this stage would mean inviting criticism from those who would formulate the government in India after the elections.
“Why should we give any reason to anyone to say that we have offered MFN status to India just before elections to favour the Congress party,” the source asked, adding that there is growing speculation that Congress may not win the election and form the next government.
More importantly, the source said that despite the desire of a few federal ministers to open all sorts of trade with India, the Foreign Office insists on a composite dialogue so that the two countries should talk on all issues and irritants pending between them instead of focusing on trade and leaving every other issue on the sidelines.
“We want equal progress on all issues,” the high-level source said, adding that all stakeholders in Pakistan want peace with India which is only possible by moving forward in all issues and irritants between the two countries.
“The FO has to take all factors into consideration

instead of having a parochial approach,” the source added.
Regarding the possible emergence of someone believed by many to be an extremist Hindu and the mass murderer of thousands of Muslims, Narendra Modi, as the next prime minister of India, the FO source said that as it happens generally Modi might change his anti-Muslim attitude after getting elevated from a state leader to a national leader.
The source said that Modi if elected would be under a burden to distance himself from his general image of an extremist and anti-Muslim individual.
Many in the world believe that Modi was the mass murderer of thousands of Muslims but the so-called ‘most secular and tolerant nation’ appears set to elect him as their next PM.
Modi, who belongs to a mentality which has been propagating putting 230 million Indian Muslims in ‘their right place — either in Pakistan or Qabrastan (the graveyard).