Pak may decide on MFN status to India after polls: Dobbins

Tags: India, MFN, Pakistan, News
Observing that the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India by Pakistan would be

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a positive step forward in improving the relationship between the two neighbours, a top Obama Administration official has said that Islamabad may decide on it after the elections in India.

Still, the Obama Administration has been raising the issue with the new Nawaz Sharif Government to grant MFN status to India as soon as possible.

"We have raised this with the government of Pakistan on several occasions and, indeed, with the government of India, specifically the grant of most favoured nations. It came up while (Pakistan) Prime Minister Sharif was here in Washington during a visit a month ago," Special US Representatives for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins told lawmakers.

"The Pakistanis have indicated their intention is to provide, is to grant MFN to India. The question is one of timing. We, of course, have urged it to be done as quickly as possible," he said in response to a question at a hearing on Afghanistan by the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday.

"They didn't say so, but I think they may be waiting until a new Indian government takes office. They probably want to do this in the part of a context of other improvements in the relationship," he said.

"The Pakistani government under the new Prime Minister has reached out and tried to improve that relationship. The Indians for good historical reasons are approaching this very cautiously. They believe that the Prime Minister's acting in good faith, but they're a little skeptical he can deliver on some of the things that they need if the relationship is going to progress," Dobbins said.

"MFN for India would be a positive step and, indeed, a general opening of the border to more commerce would also be very helpful for Afghanistan as you've indicated and for all those reasons we continue to support it," he said.

India had given MFN status to Pakistan in 1996.

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