Pakistan renounces proposal of India imported cotton, sugar
On Thursday, the Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Khan, rejected the high-powered committee's proposal to import cotton from India, with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stating that there will be no normalisation of relations until New Delhi reverses its verdict to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special status in 2019.
Following consultations with key members of his Cabinet on importing cotton and sugar from the neighbouring country, Prime Minister Imran Khan has declared that Pakistan cannot proceed with any trade with India under the current circumstances, according to a media report on Saturday.
On Friday after consultations, the prime minister directed the Ministry of Commerce and his economic team to take immediate steps to facilitate the relevant sectors, value-added, apparel, and sugar, by locating alternative cheap sources of import of the required commodities, according to Dawn newspaper sources.
Numerous proposals have been presented to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), which considers these suggestions from an economic and commercial standpoint. And per the report, after the ECC deliberates, its decisions are presented to the Cabinet for enactment and final approval. In this case, the ECC was presented with a proposal to allow the import of cotton, cotton yarn, and sugar from India while keeping domestic requirements in mind, it said.
Regarding the ECC decision to allow the import of sugar, cotton, and cotton yarn from India, Khan met with key members of his Cabinet on Friday and decided that Pakistan could not proceed with any trade with India under the current circumstances, according to the statement.
The ECC had decided to recommend these imports to the Cabinet for consideration on commercial grounds. Although the decision was not on the formal agenda of the Cabinet meeting, the issue was brought up by Cabinet members and the prime minister ordered that the ECC's decision be withheld and immediately reviewed, the report said.
On Thursday, the Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Khan, rejected the high-powered committee's proposal to import cotton from India, with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stating that there will be no normalisation of relations until New Delhi reverses its verdict to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special status in 2019. Pakistan's U-turn came a day after the ECC, under newly appointed Finance Minister Hammad Azhar, proposed importing cotton and sugar from India, lifting a nearly two-year ban on imports from the neighbouring country due to tensions over the Kashmir issue.
India has stated that it wishes to maintain normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment that is free of terror, hostility, and violence. India has further stated that it is Pakistan's responsibility to create an environment free of terror and hostility. Furthermore, India has advised Pakistan that "talks and terror" cannot coexist, and has urged Islamabad to carry demonstrable steps against terror groups accountable for a variety of attacks on India.
The ECC decision raised expectations for a partial resumption of Pakistan-India bilateral trade relations, which had been suspended following New Delhi's decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special status on August 5, 2019.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Pakistan pulled its ban on the import of medicines and raw materials for essential drugs from India in May 2020. However, India's decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special status in 2019 infuriated Pakistan, which cut diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad. And, Pakistan has also cut all air and land links with India, suspending trade and railway services.