The Pakistan cabinet on Tuesday decided to put off indefinitely the granting of most favoured nation (MFN) status to India, which it had promised to do last November, even as India's commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma is in Islamabad seeking better trade ties.
The cabinet, which met today, directed the commerce ministry ''to consult all stakeholders before the preparation and finalisation of negative and positive lists for trade with India'', said a press statement issued by the information department.
Granting the MFN status means that Islamabad would have to shift from a 'positive list' of items that are allowed to be imported from India to a 'negative list', outside of which all goods and services can be imported.
Commerce minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim had presented a summary on a negative list of 636 items, but other members of the cabinet expressed displeasure over his ministry's top bureaucrats bringing the list to the cabinet for approval without holding full consultations with other relevant ministries and stakeholders.
The decision means Pakistan will continue with the existing regime of restricting imports from India to 1,963 items.
According to reports, the cabinet asked the commerce ministry to bring a new list at the next cabinet meeting after proper consultation.