Pakistan keen on closer trade ties with India

Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, is making every effort to make peace with India and in the latest instant has warned his ministers against making anti-India statements.

Lahore Dispatch was recently informed that Sharif warned that PML-N’s political officials not to issue any statement that could damage the peace process.

“There will be statements only that encourage the dialogue process rather than digging out the past” a report indicated.

The belief is that Sharif was optimistic that better ties with India would benefit the whole region.

The contention has been that India that New Delhi only wanted to engage with India on Kashmir talks, but there is reason to understand now Pakistan wants to go beyond this.

Nawaz-Modi Meeting

Officials from the Sharif lobby said that while they wanted to give top priority to Kashmir, the government was equally keen on discussing terrorism and trade when the two sides meet.

Another official confirmed that the military leadership no longer had reservations about taking in all-encompassing talks.

“There is no difference of opinion and both agree that there should be no compromise on the stated position on key issues,” he added.

The idea of bilateral talks emerged when Sharif and his counterpart Narendra Modi in Paris and subsequently at the National Security Advisors in Bangkok.

Earlier, on December 8, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had visited Pakistan for the Heart of Asia conference to pave the way for peace and she met with Sharif and Pakistan’s foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz on the sidelines of the conference.

Sharif and Modi are expected meet again in Switzerland in January to tie up loose ends at the the 46th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos-Klosters.

India’s outgoing High Commissioner to Pakistan, TCA Raghavan, sounded confident that relations between the two countries were on the mend and that the two countries would arrive at a mutual understanding to settle their differences sooner rather than later.

Political analysts also sounded optimistic that with the resumption of a comprehensive dialogue most of the outstanding issues could be resolved, even to the point of a trade corridor through Pakistan into Afghanistan, which might well lead to greater things.

But Indian investment in Pakistan still has to be negotiated with Pakistani businessmen who as yet stand at some distance, while Pakistan’s security services have not as yet agreed to the idea of providing sovereign guarantees.

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