Pakistan has been facing troubled relationship with India on all fronts since independence. Whichever political party came to power tries to build ties with India, particularly in the economic and trade areas. India has shown great indifference and then there are some other serious hurdles which makes these efforts difficult. The Kashmir issue remains a thorn in India’s side, border interference and religious extremism are also a factor influencing any kind of peace between the two neighbours.

Nawaz government faced opposition from the proponents of conflict between India and Pakistan since his election. Despite opposition from many fronts, PM Sharif, did not waiver from his declared commitment to improve peace and trade relations with India. Realistically, it is in the benefit of both the countries to abate their aggressive attitude and to elevate mutual trade for the stability of their economies along with the broader betterment of whole South Asian region. Pakistan was to grant India the MFN status in December 2012, eliminating the negative list of 1,209 items which India has barred from exporting there, including pharmaceutical and agricultural products.

If the commerce ministries of both the countries open trade corridors and resolve their issues it can open new vistas of cooperation in trade, energy, infrastructure, transportation and so on and so forth. It is now the prime responsibility of both the governments to take certain steps for successful initiative since the only way to help them both is to bring peace to the area. However, the quest for re-charting the destinies of the two countries requires pragmatic and visionary leadership. At least from Pakistan’s side, the vibes for the positivist course in South Asia are pretty serious, what we need is a matching response from India.

EDREES QAMAR,

Lahore, January 22.