A day after the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) reversed a two-year-old decision to suspend all trade with India and allow the import of cotton and sugar from across the border, the Pakistan Cabinet on Thursday did a U-turn.
According to a Hindustan Times report, a Cabinet meeting chaired by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected the ECC's decision to allow imports from India. However, there is was no official word on the development from the Pakistan government.
For the uninitiated, Pakistan had unilaterally suspended trade with India in August 2019 after New Delhi scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
On Wednesday, Pakistan’s newly appointed Finance Minister Hammad Azhar had announced the decision to import cotton and sugar from India and said that the decision was driven by rising prices and Pakistani industry’s need for specific products.
"We have allowed the import of sugar, but in the rest of the world too, sugar prices are high because of which imports are not possible. But in our neighbouring country — India — the prices of sugar are much less as compared to Pakistan, so we have decided to reopen sugar trade with India up to 0.5 million tonnes for the private sector,” Azhar said.
He also added that there was high demand for cotton and yarn from India, especially from Pakistani Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) due to increased textile exports but a reduced crop in 2020.
The announcement of imports from India was seen as a major development, which was likely to increase peace overtures between New Delhi and Islamabad.
Recently, Armies of India and Pakistan reinforced ceasefire followed by talks on the Indus water treaty in New Delhi.
Letters were also exchanged between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan. First, PM Modi wrote a letter greeting Khan on Pakistan National Day, now he responded with proposed result-oriented talks.