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Pak defers India deal

Islamabad, March 27: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the first time took a major policy decision on the recommendations of the foreign ministry, declining to award the Non-Discriminatory Market Access to India.

He also put a halt to the announcement of a major new trade policy till a new government is in place in India, reports The News.

Sharif cited a “lack of consensus” for postponing the announcement, saying: “We did not want to favour a single political party in India.”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s reluctance to visit Pakistan has also not helped matters with the Sharif government, which is clearly disappointed.

The foreign office has for quite some time now advised the government in writing that it would not be prudent for Pakistan to give such a major political concession to the present Indian government which is on its way out, and instead give this concession to the incoming one.

Sharif finally agreed, though initially he opposed this advice, diplomatic sources said.

Many in the foreign office say that they heard about Sharif’s decision from the media as it was not officially shared with them.

The army’s General Headquarters was in agreement with the Sharif government and did not discourage it in its trade overtures with India.

The spokesperson at the foreign office on many occasions had clearly stated that “everyone was on board” but did not admit that it was the ministry itself which was cautioning the government.

A senior diplomat said, “When the foreign office advises the government, it has already done its homework by consulting various ministries.”

 
 
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