Conference on Most Favored Nation Status to India held at University of Peshawar

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As is evident from the battles that we had fought in the past, war with India is not going to bring prosperity to people on both sides of the divide. The designs of the so called“ Janta“ which comprise of some intellects, landlords, few businessmen and Army generals to not allow trade with India and promote hatred for their own vested interests is not going to work anymore because the world is moving towards economic ties for cost effective benefits especially with those among neighbors. This was stated by Senator Ilyas Ahmed Bilour who is also the Chairman of Federal Commerce Committee while addressing the concluding session of one day conference on most favored nation (MFN) status to India cost and benefits for Pakistan held at University of Peshawar on Wednesday.

Mr. Bilour added that the MFN status was given by India to Pakistan in the year 1995-96 as both are members of the World Trade Organizations, the same was to be reciprocated by Pakistan which we have granted at last, however this status has to be endorsed by the parliament before commencing formal trade under this agreement.

It is unfortunate that Pakistan couldn’t capitalize on the MFN status given by India, the main reason for which was the non tariff barrier but we are making sure to take up this issue with them in order to have a balance of trade with them in the future. However we are also mindful of the concerns of our local industry and would take them on board before finalizing the relevant items required for bilateral trade and import and export, he added.

The Senator elaborated that MFN would open a market of 1.2 billion people to Pakistani goods while industrialists and exporters can get cheaper Indian products for consumers in our country.

Earlier the one day conference was declared open by Vice Chancellor University of Peshawar Prof. Dr. Azmat Hayat Khan. In his address he said that trade with India is already taking place, the official figure of which is around one billion dollars a year but the actual figure is more than ten thousand dollars. This means that a lot of goods are being smuggled to and from Pakistan to India or they are traded through a third country. This he said must be stopped and MFN is a very good way in motivating traders for trading goods on reciprocal basis and that too on record. The trade links will prove to be a good move in promoting confidence building among the two neighboring countries.

Dr. Khan added that you can have choices of friends but no choice of neighbors and keeping in view our own strategic and economic interest we must go ahead to strengthen Pak India relations.

Mr. Imtiaz Gul said that the old notion of hatred for India has to stop as the world is changing and those countries who have strong economy prosper. He added that there is no better choice than to have a trading neighbor. The fact that we have not been able to capitalize on the MFN status given to us by India sixteen years back is because of our own problems which includes hypocrisy, pessimism and poor policies. He termed the MFN status to India as a best move for the people of both the countries in getting quality products at economy.

Dr. Qadir Baloch said that he sees no rational in giving MFN status to India because we don’t have the necessary infrastructure to compete with Indian industry. He added that India want to get access to Afghanistan and the central asian market and press their regional hegemony on us.

Mr. Ghulam Sarwar Mohmand termed MFN status to India as a deadliest move to destroy the local industry especially pharmaceutical and auto industry. He added that due to gas and power shortage all the industrial units are running below power and in Pakistan we have to pay 8.8 Rs. For one unit of electricity as compared to one rupee per unit of India which is a clear indicator that price wise we would not be able to compete with their products.

Chariman Department of Political Science Dr. AZ Hilali thanked the audience for participation in the conference at the end. The conference was arranged by Department of Political Science which was widely attended by students, faculty members and speakers from the country.

 

Mr.Akhtar Amin
Media & Protocol Officer
University of Peshawar

 

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