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Pak signals passage to Kabul

Islamabad, Oct. 11: Pakistan today signalled its willingness to grant India a “passageway” to Afghanistan as part of efforts to boost bilateral trade ties.

“Talks are under way to give India a passageway to Afghanistan. This will not only boost trade ties between the two countries but will also promote progress and prosperity in the whole region,” Pakistan commerce minister Makhdoom Amin Faheem said in Lahore.

Faheem did not give details but said a decision would be taken “very soon”. “We expect to make headway next month when commerce officials of the two countries meet in New Delhi.”

He hoped the volume of annual trade would reach a record level of $6 billion from $2 billion at present after various measures are announced.

Pakistan has already decided to grant the most favoured nation (MFN) status to India, setting aside issues such as Kashmir.

The Pakistan commerce ministry recently sent all stakeholders an update on the issue of granting the MFN status to India. Sources said it sought their comments on changing the decades-old trade regime with India.

To reciprocate the gesture, India is likely to withdraw its opposition to an EU trade concessions package for Pakistan at the World Trade Organisation on October 20.

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