The Indian government has lifted the curbs it had placed on Pakistanis investing in India, causing Pakistan’s Foreign Office to welcome the step, even though business circles warned that this would increase the flight of capital from Pakistan. Pakistani entrepreneurs mentioned that Indians had not been given the corresponding permission, of investing in Pakistan, which might have helped balance matters. The reciprocal permission was expected, as India had agreed to this step after the grant by Pakistan to it of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) Status. However the fact that promise went unfulfilled is hardly a surprise when dealing with our inconsistent neighbour. The fact that all these one-sided, well-meant, normalisation efforts are being undertaken would be widely lauded and acceptable, if there had also been some movement on coming to terms with, or even bringing under discussion, the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan was accused of granting India MFN status and abandoning the Kashmir cause, to which it had committed moral and diplomatic support. That accusation would now be valid, as the government continues to take steps further towards normalisation of relations without anything whatsoever done to reassure the supporters of the Kashmir cause across the length and breadth of the county.
The Pakistan government must ensure that India eliminates the non-tariff barriers it has erected, and which are the secret of its surplus with Pakistan as well as other countries, and while it must be ready for equitable trade, it must not do the wrong thing for the wrong reasons. If India was to see that Pakistan was a sovereign country, willing to make trade agreements only with those who paid attention to its national interests, it would be more careful.