It is a matter of note to learn that the government has deferred the most controversial issue of granting Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India for the next elected government to decide. A report quoting reliable sources in yesterday’s Nawa-i-Waqt says that all actions relating to MFN have been suspended. An article included in the text of the National Trade Policy that treated India as an MFN state has also been deleted. One would welcome the initiative given the resentment the various circles in society feel on the ground that till the core issues like Kashmir were resolved, trade should not be allowed across the borders of the two SAARC partners.

Business community, particularly the industrialists, was also opposing this preferential treatment to India that would further ruin the economy already in the grip of an acute crisis. Political parties had, on different occasions, issued strong reactions on granting India the MFN status, while in private agreeing wholeheartedly with the need to trade. Not only will the deferral give all parties a chance to play politics over the issue come election time, but each will also claim credit for having stopped the manoeuvre. However, in all likelihood, the deferral is payback for Indian aggression over the LoC in recent weeks. However, we would strongly advise whether this government, or the next that is to come into power after the general elections that until our disputes with India, notably Kashmir, are settled, goodwill and trade will not be sustainable.