Fahim under fire in cabinet for ‘haste’ on MFN lists


The federal cabinet decided to defer the matter after the commerce ministry’s move to seek approval of items of trade to India from the ‘negative’ list to the ‘positive’ list came under severe criticism from the interior and textile ministers for showing ‘unnecessary haste.’
In light of the criticism, Prime Minister (PM) Yousuf Raza Gilani directed the commerce minister to all stakeholders onboard before taking the decision.
Moreover, the bill proposing amendments in Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design Act 2011 was also deferred with attorney general of Pakistan and secretary finance asked to reassess the proposed amendments in and table their recommendations.
Sources told Pakistan Today that during the special cabinet meeting held to approve the 20th Constitutional Amendment Bill, commerce minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim came under fire from cabinet colleagues for not taking them on board on the decision to turn the items on the negative list to positive list to normalise bilateral trade with India. “Fahim failed to convince the PM why his ministry had not sent related papers to all ministries concerned. Moreover, since the mandatory 15-day timeframe had not been fulfilled, the PM decided to defer the matter,” the sources said. Sources said Fahim had said that his ministry wanted to complete the deal as his Indian counterpart, Anand Sharma, had arrived in Pakistan and the ministry wanted to finalise the matter in the dialogue to be held on February 16.
The Information Minister confirmed during a press briefing that the matter of the negative items’ list had been deferred on the PM’s direction.
“Yes, agenda number seven was deferred after reservations were shown by the interior and textile ministers for not being taken onboard by commerce ministry. The PM expressed concern over why the ministry did not follow laid down procedure of completing the 15-day deadline,” she said.
However, she said the cabinet approved three memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with India for for extending cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters; bilateral cooperation agreement on mutual recognition between PSQCA and BIS systems and agreement on redressal of trade grievances between Pakistan and India.
The cabinet also approved confirmation of decisions of the economic coordination committee (ECC) held on 31st January while the signing and ratification of statute of the organisation of the Islamic Countries (0IC) women development organisation and amendments in rules of acceding states order 1972 presidential order were also approved, she added. She said the bill proposing amendments in Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design Act 2011 were deferred and attorney general of Pakistan and secretary finance were asked to reassess the proposed amendments in the bill and table their recommendations. She said the cabinet members opposed the bill claiming that it cannot allow one university’s administration alone to form a financial reporting system aimed at improving governance. She said that the cabinet unanimously applauded the PM’s conduct in the Supreme Court and reposed full confidence in his leadership.
She said the media trial of the elected PM was unfortunate and Gilani had taken a legal and and constitutional position in the SC. She said the PM had directed the information technology ministry to gear up efforts for launching the 3-G licenses auction. She further said that the cabinet also approved the ECC decision to export 100,000 tonnes of sugar and each sugar mill would be allowed to export 5000 tonnes each.


  1. First the dam on rivers in Kashmir and now the ppp government is trying to sell the benefits of local industry to India in the name of trade. The trade minister did not even bother to discuss the matter even with his own colegues let alone the industrialists and other stakeholders.

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