They thought that before finding amicable solution of the core issue of Kashmir, trade with India would not serve any meaningful purpose. On the other hand, all political leaders of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and others regarded it as a conspiracy against the Kashmiri people who were fighting Indian occupation forces for liberation of their motherland.
However, Gilani government did not budge an inch and stayed firm on the issue of granting MFN status to India. Various trade organisations expressed their fear that India would establish its monopoly over Pakistani market that would virtually play havoc with the country’s industrial sector. As such the industry is suffering due to the menace of loadshedding and heavy taxation.
After attaining the MFN status, New Delhi has started showing its true colours. A report published in The Nation says that the Reserve Bank of India has barred Indian businessmen from investing in Pakistan’s manufacturing sector despite oft-repeated claims by New Delhi that no Pakistan-specific Non-tariff Barriers (NTBs) were imposed. The report further reveals that there is no ban on Indian investors from investing in any other country of the world.
Economic experts here are very critical of Islamabad demonstrating such a terrible haste to ensure all facilities to the Indian investors despite the fact that the trade balance was already in favour of India. The statistics of the Federal Board of Revenue and facts contained in the annual report of the State Bank says that Pakistan in the year 2010-11 exported goods worth US $ 193 million while the imports from India stood at US $ 860 million. The best year for the two-way trade was 2006-07 when the total trade volume between the two countries was US $ 3098 million with only 22 percent exports to India.
There is an urgent need for the government to respond to the genuine demands of our trading community and facilitate them to maintain a balance in the two-way trade failing which the already sick industry would collapse. It must also increase the pressure on New Delhi regarding Kashmir conflict and bring home to the Indian leadership the reality that without resolving this fundamental issue, no meaningful progress could be made to normalise bilateral relations. – Nation