By Afzal Khan
ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday said Pakistan wanted to initiate a new era of economic collaboration with India.
He also reaffirmed commitment to resolve all outstanding issues with India through dialogue, besides developing bilateral relations on equal basis.
“We want all our core issues settled through dialogue on equitable basis and want to start a new era of economic collaboration with India,” the prime minister said while addressing the inaugural session of a two-day “Aman Ki Asha Economic Conference” in Lahore.
The prime minister said that Pakistan also wanted to enhance people-to-people contacts with India to promote peace and prosperity for future generations.
Speaking on the occasion, Trade Secretary Zafar Mehmood announced that Pakistan would eliminate the negative list in bilateral trade with India by December 31, 2012, to pave the way for granting most the favoured nation (MFN) status to India.
“The negative list is only 1,209 items and the cabinet has decided in principal to phase it out by year end provided the Ministry of Commerce successfully negotiates with India and comes back to the cabinet and assures them that India has given us a level playing field,” Mehmood said.
Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad, Sharat Shabarwal, said India has decided to open a new transit point on the border for trade. He said India has also taken steps to sell electricity and petroleum products to Pakistan.