Federal cabinet rejects the Economic Coordination Committee’s decision
Islamabad and New Delhi won’t be resuming trade as the federal cabinet has turned down the recommendation to import cotton and sugar from India, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Thursday.
The Economic Coordination Committee gave a green signal to import cotton and sugar from the neighbouring country Wednesday.
“After discussion, the cabinet has come to a conclusion that the decision should be deferred,” Qureshi said in a statement. “The cabinet didn’t endorse the ECC decision.”
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Hammad Azhar said the sugar prices were rising across the world and to tackle that, Pakistan would import sugar from India. “Pakistan has decided to import 500,000 tonnes of sugar from India to meet the shortage in the country and provide price stability.”
Azhar remarked that Pakistan was importing cotton from all over the world, except India. This is hurting SMEs (small and medium enterprises), so the government has decided to import cotton from India, he added.
But now the cabinet has rejected the ECC’s recommendation.
Pakistan suspended bilateral relations with India in August 2019 after the Modi government revoked the autonomous status of India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
However, the two nuclear-armed neighbours resumed the ceasefire agreement last month after a “hotline contact” between their directors-general of military operations.
Qureshi said that relations with India would not be “normalized” until it reviews its decision to revoke the autonomy of occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan desires peaceful, cooperative relations with all neighbouring countries, Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a letter to Indian premier Narendra Modi.
“The people of Pakistan also desire peaceful, cooperative relations with all neighbours, including India,” PM Khan wrote in response to PM Modi’s Pakistan Day message.
In his letter on March 23, PM Modi had stated that “India desires cordial relations with the people of Pakistan”. He said that “an environment of trust, devoid of terror and hostility” was imperative for friendly relations between the two nations.
In response, the Pakistan premier said he believes an “enabling environment is imperative for a constructive and result-oriented dialogue”.
“We are convinced that durable peace and stability in South Asia is contingent upon resolving all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan, in particular, the Jammu & Kashmir dispute,” PM Khan’s letter read.