Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir’s statement that secret Indo-Pak parleys to normalise ties were on and his hint at the possibility of granting the MFN status to India at any time are a cause for concern. Though he stated that the Kashmir issue was also on the agenda, a man with such experience of diplomacy ought to remember that secret talks would only lead to a blind alley. Besides, any resort to secrecy is disconcerting particularly since Pakistan has nothing to hide. Islamabad is expected not to compromise on any of its principles of its traditional policy over the dispute. There is virtually nothing that Pakistan can either give or gain through buckling under pressure. In this equation, it is New Delhi that is the villain of the peace; it has been maintaining its rule merely by use of force, committing atrocities and human rights abuses that are now being censured by some of its acclaimed authors like Arundhati Roy and increasingly by the international community. The only way out is to pave the way for an impartial plebiscite in line with UNSC resolutions.

Furthermore, granting the MFN status would mean that trade has eclipsed the core issue, even though the cross-border commerce is not going to result in the kind of dividend some here might be expecting. If India was serious in resolving the issue, it would not have invented such bizarre terms as, ‘integral part’.