ISLAMABAD - Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim has called off a scheduled visit to India to attend a business meeting later this month, against the backdrop of tensions between the two countries over ceasefire violations along the Line of Control.
Fahim told the media that he had decided against travelling to India as the business meeting would clash with an upcoming meeting between a government team and Tahirul Qadri.
He said as one of the signatories of the agreement between the government and Qadri, he had to attend the meeting to be held in Lahore on January 27 to discuss the Qadri’s demands.
However, official sources said Fahim’s decision was linked to the spike in tensions between India and Pakistan over a string of clashes along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir that left three Pakistani soldiers dead.
The Directors General of Military Operations of both sides recently decided to take steps to de-escalate tensions. Fahim and Commerce Secretary Munir Qureshi were scheduled to visit India during January 27-29 to participate in a Partnership Summit being organised in Agra.
The Pakistani minister was invited to the meeting by his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma.
There has been no official word on when Pakistan will complete the process to give India the MFN status and reports have suggested that the matter may be left for the new government that is elected in polls scheduled to be held by mid-May.
Fahim is among a group of ministers who have contended that the concerns of several industries should be addressed before MFN status is granted to India.