Pulwama terror attack: Pakistan’s MFN status withdrawn, Pak HC summoned by India

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New Delhi | Published: February 15, 2019 7:29:28 PM

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale summoned Pakistan High Commissioner today afternoon and issued a "very strong demarche" in connection to the Pulwama terror attack.”

Pulwama, Pulwama terror attack, Pakistan, Pak HC, Sohail Mehmood, Pakistan's High commissioner, india, pakistan, Jaish e Mohammad, defence newsPakistan’s High commissioner Sohail Mehmood (PTI)

India lodged a strong protest against the Pulwama attack which killed more than 40 CRPF personnel on Thursday, when it summoned Pakistan’s High commissioner Sohail Mehmood. Pakistan based terrorist group Jaish e Mohammad (JEM) has claimed responsibility for the attack. According to reports a suicide bomber from the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group had rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a CRPF bus in Pulwama district on Thursday evening which killed around 40 personnel and leaving many critically wounded. This the worst attack on India’s security forces in Jammu & Kashmir which is battling with militancy.

The State Governor Satya Pal Malik said Friday that intelligence failure was partly responsible for the attack, adding that the security forces were not aware of any training of suicide bombers.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale summoned Pakistan High Commissioner today afternoon and issued a “very strong demarche” in connection to the Pulwama terror attack.”

Sources confirmed to the Financial Express Online that, “The Foreign Secretary also conveyed that Pakistan must take “immediate and verifiable action” against the JEM and has asked Islamabad that “it must immediately stop any groups or individuals associated with terrorism operating from its territories”.

New Delhi has also rejected the statement made by Foreign Ministry of Pakistan yesterday.

Islamabad had changed its statement yesterday a couple of times while issuing the release by first issuing it, later withdrawing it to issue another one with minor changes.

According to sources, Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria has been called to New Delhi for consultations.

This year, the Pakistan High Commissioner has been summoned the second time this year. Earlier, he was summoned last month after Pakistan Foreign Minister SM Qureshi had made a phone call to pro-Pakistan Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

Earlier in the day, after a meeting with top members of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly condemned the incident and paid tribute to soldiers who lost their lives at Pulwama.

The current situation in the Valley remains tense as all police convoys have been halted and an NIA team will be sent to Kashmir soon. PM Modi said the forces will be given full freedom to avenge the attack, adding that “Pakistan has made a huge mistake”.

At the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting headed by Prime Minister on Friday decided to withdraw Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan.

What is MFN Status?

– MFN is a non-discriminatory trade policy as it ensures equal trading among all WTO member nations rather than exclusive trading privileges

– The MFN status was granted to Pakistan by India in 1996, just a year after the formation of the WTO

– Pakistan has not yet given Indian MFN status

– According to experts the removal of this status means that India can now enhance customs duties to any level on goods coming from Pakistan.

– The move could also lead to increased illegal trade between the two countries through third country.

– The MFN status was accorded under World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

– Both India and Pakistan are signatories to GATT

– Both are also members of the WTO.

– Total India-Pakistan trade has increased marginally to $2.41 billion in 2017-18 as against $ 2.27 billion in 2016-17

– India imported goods worth $488.5 million in 2017-18 and exported goods worth $ 1.92 billion in that fiscal

– MFN ensures non-discriminatory trade

– Any country receiving MFN status avoids any disadvantageous situation in comparison to the granter’s other trade partners

– The status helps reduce trade barriers and results in a reduction in tariffs

– It helps in the promotion of free trade between two or more countries

What Next?

The Ministry of Commerce will be writing to WTO seeking the revocation of MFN status given to Pakistan by invoking Article 21 of WTO, also known as the Security Exceptions Article. According to sources the process has already been initiated of communicating to WTO’s India’s decision.

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