HAGUE: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Monday that the granting of Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India had been postponed.
Sharif also said that the government's committee to mediate with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan would visit North Waziristan tomorrow in order to hold direct talks with the Taliban leadership.
Speaking to mediapersons after holding a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, during the sidelines of a two-day nuclear summit, Sharif said that the Kashmir issue should be resolved adding that India showed reluctance every time Pakistan raised the matter with it.
The premier also proposed an intervention by a third force over the issue and said that the matter could be resolved if a third force like the United States was involved.
The Prime Minister also admitted that decision to grant MFN status to India was postponed because of a lack of consensus. Sharif further said that he had directed his team to talk to all stakeholders and develop consensus on the matter.
“We also deferred this due to elections in India because we did not want to favor single political party in India”, the Prime Minister commented.
In 2012, Pakistan had committed itself to giving the MFN status to India after a strong persuasive note by the World Bank, and having done all the necessary spadework in this regard, opted to miss its own deadline of December 31, owing to domestic opposition and reciprocal response from New Delhi.
Talking about the mediation with the Taliban he said the government was holding talks with sincerity and the committee to hold talks on behalf of the government would visit North Waziristan tomorrow where direct talks would take place with the Taliban leadership.
Answering another question the prime minister said that peace in Afghanistan was the need of Pakistan and also welcomed the US move of halting drone strikes in Pakistani territory.
Earlier, Prime Minister Sharif met US Secretary of State John Kerry and both sides reaffirmed their desire to continue the strategic dialogue, covering a wide range of areas.
US Secretary of State said his country has great confidence in Pakistan's nuclear security and will continue to work with Pakistan in fighting terrorism.
In brief remarks to the press he also assured cooperation to Pakistan to help meet its energy needs.
John Kerry said the two countries were “deeply engaged” and said the two sides will focus on the issue of terrorism, counter terrorism, global energy besides Afghanistan and the bilateral Pakistan-United States relations.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said there were a lot of challenges for his government that came into power nine months back, however measures were afoot to address these.
He also mentioned his meeting with US President Barack Obama a few months ago in Washington DC and said the dialogue with the US will continue.
John Kerry mentioned his meeting in Washington with the Adviser to Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz recently and said he was looking forward to his meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar soon.
The Prime Minister is accompanied by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Syed Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.
— Mateen Haider also contributed to the reporting of this story