Cabinet postpones ECC’s proposal to import sugar and cotton from India

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that the cabinet has postponed the proposal of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) to import sugar and cotton from India.
In a video statement on Thursday, Qureshi said the clear and unanimous view of Prime Minister Imran Khan and the cabinet was that it would not be possible to normalise relations with India until India reviews the unilateral measures of 5 August 2019 to abrogate the autonomous status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
In an effort to cool local demand and prices, the ECC on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for the imports from India. That move was to have ended nearly two years of trade suspension between the nuclear-armed rivals.
Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari said in a tweet that the Prime Minister Imran Khan and cabinet members made it clear that “there is no normalisation of relations” until New Delhi revokes its illegal action of abrogating autonomous status of IIOJK.
Later, addressing a press conference after the cabinet meeting, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said that even though India-Pakistan relations can be a game-changer for the region and Pakistan wishes to normalise relations with the neighbouring state, things cannot progress until India revokes its August 5 move in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Chaudhry said that the normalisation of trade relations with India, as previously proposed by the newly-appointed finance minister Hammad Azhar, is not possible because of the Indian atrocities in the IIOJK. “If India commits a massacre against Muslims and refuses to give Kashmiri people their due right, Pakistan cannot have normal diplomatic relations with India,” he said.
The minister added that the federal cabinet has reiterated its position that the normalisation of relations with India is not possible until it revisits its Kashmir policy. “We want to have good relations with India and move forward with our economy, but India should first revoke its August 5, 2019, move,” he said.
Headed by newly-appointed Finance Minister Hammad Azhar, the ECC had announced to resume trade with India as part of an understanding to gradually normalise bilateral relations and ensure food security of the country that is bracing for shortages of wheat, sugar and cotton
Pakistan had suspended bilateral trade with India on August 9, 2019 after “the Indian government’s unilateral action to change the status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir”. – TLTP

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