Pakistan cannot go ahead with any trade with India under the current circumstances, says Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. This decision came after he held consultations with key members of his government on importing cotton and sugar from India.
Khan, according to various Pakistani media reports, instructed the Ministry of Commerce and his economic team to immediately take steps to facilitate the relevant sectors, value added, apparel and sugar, by finding alternative cheap sources of import of the needed commodities.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said it was a consensus opinion, including the PM, that as long as India doesn’t review the unilateral steps it took, it wouldn’t be possible to normalize relations with India. “There was a debate in the Cabinet, and I tell you, a majority isn’t in favour that we start trade with India without talking about the Kashmir issue,” a source said.
The decision to import cotton and sugar has now been deferred, for the time being, not over-turned completely. Various proposals have been presented to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) which considers suggestions from an economic and commercial point of view. In the present case, a proposal was presented to the ECC to allow the import of cotton, yarn and sugar from India keeping in view domestic requirements.
According to the PTI, India has said that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence. New Delhi has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility. It has also told Pakistan that talks and terror cannot go together and has asked Islamabad to take demonstrable steps against terror groups responsible for launching various attacks on India.
The ECC’s decision has raised hopes of a partial revival of Pakistan-India bilateral trade relations, which were suspended after the August 5, 2019 decision of New Delhi to revoke the special status of J&K.