Pakistan granted Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India to promote bilateral trade between two arch rivals, Information Minister Firdus Ashiq Awan said here Wednesday. The Minister told a news conference in Islamabad that the Federal cabinet in its session unanimously adopted a resolution about granting the MFN status to India when it was put to the forum for approval. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani presided over the cabinet meeting. The decision was taken into national interest, she said, adding that all stack holders had been taken into confidence before the decision taken. The move came few weeks after Pakistan and India had agreed to a target of raising bilateral trade to $6bn within three years from the current nearly $2.7 billion. Visa restrictions that have long frustrated business leaders in both countries are also expected to be lifted in coming weeks. India bestowed MFN status on Pakistan in 1996. India had been demanding the same status for years but differences and strong opposition at home blocked the move for a long time. The two countries have in recent months increased trade across the Line of Control (LoC), which divides the two countries into the dispute Kashmir region. Officials said the announcement reflects the biggest liberalisation in trade policy between the two countries, who have fought three wars, two over the disputed region of Kashmir, since their independence in 1947. Pakistani Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim, who visited India in September as the head of a high-level business delegation to India, had said that there was a strong opinion in Pakistan that India should be given the Most Favoured Nation status. Relationship between the two nuclear rivals has improved in recent months and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said on Tuesday that he will discuss with his Indian counterpart the import of Indian electricity during a regional summit in the Maldives later this month. Both prime ministers will attend the summit of South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar had also told the parliament last month that Pakistan had decided to grant India the MFN status citing improvement in bilateral relations and resumption of dialogue after the four-year suspension over the Mumbai attacks. She said Pakistan wanted to improve its regional connectivity with energy pipelines and roads, adding that “one day it would be possible” for Indian trade with central Asian nations to transit through Pakistan. Visa restrictions that have long frustrated business leaders in both countries are also expected to be lifted in coming weeks. Pakistan has also allowed Afghanistan to deliver its goods at the Wahga border with India through Pakistan land route under a new transit trade agreement with Afghanistan. Several hard-liner Kashmiri groups in Pakistan have opposed Pakistan move to grant the MFN status to India until India resolves the longstanding Kashmir issue.