The latest minister failing to realise that grant of MFN status to India, given the continued state of friction is a contradiction in terms, is Minister of State for Finance Saleem Mandviwala who stated that the decision to that effect has been taken. Interestingly, he went on to add that there were certain reservations of certain quarters which remain unresolved but would be sorted out. Why were these problems not attended to before? Well because under the circumstances, they are quite complex. This contradictory stand simply reiterates the point that this so-called confidence building measure at this juncture would constitute a big loss to Pakistan whose repercussions would be felt on a number of fronts. The argument that we would gain economically does not have much substance either. Owing to the prevailing conditions, there is not much that can be gained particularly against the backdrop of disparities between the Pakistani and Indian market situation. Here, while the vested interests might attempt to profit from that, the average trader would not find a worthwhile atmosphere for business.

Most importantly, owing to the unresolved nature of the Kashmir conflict and its fallout resulting in ongoing border clashes and overt threats of war, the people regard the MFN ruse as a sell-out. The Kashmiri leaders themselves seem worried while rightly urging the PPP setup that concessions of the sort will lead to nothing useful.