Pakistan did an about-face and canceled its authorization for limited imports of sugar, cotton and wheat from India in the face of a hostile political backlash.
Pakistan’s economic coordination committee said on Wednesday that permits would be granted to curb rampant inflation, but many politicians criticized the sign of warming relations with India.
Pakistani Finance Minister Hammad Azhar announced on Wednesday that the government had taken the decision to reopen trade with India “in the interest of the people”, despite the dispute between the two countries over Kashmir (shared territory between the two states) which both wish to control all of it.
But on Thursday, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told reporters the decision had been “postponed” until New Delhi returned Indian Kashmir to its semi-autonomous status.
Islamabad interrupted trade and diplomatic relations with India in 2019 when Delhi decided to withdraw from Kashmir, a volatile and predominantly Muslim area, this special status and put in place severe security measures.
The two countries then withdrew their main diplomats and consular staff were either recalled or expelled.
Relations have since remained cold, but recent signs of rapprochement have been noted, such as letters exchanged between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan, or a resumption of discussions this week about the use. resources from the Indus, a river that flows through the two countries.
Pakistan’s economy is in tatters, a situation that has worsened further with the third wave of the pandemic caused by the coronavirus and partial containment measures.
Importing half a million tonnes of sugar could have reduced the price of the commodity by up to 20% for the fasting month of Ramadan when it is in high demand.
The economic committee had also provided for authorizations for the importation of three million tonnes of wheat, as well as an as yet unknown quantity of cotton and wool.
Bloomberg reported last week that the United Arab Emirates had helped set up a secret line of communication between India and Pakistan.