Pak PM virtually rules out importing Indian food to Kashmir | Latest India News

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A day after Pakistan’s finance minister said Islamabad might consider importing food from India to overcome shortages caused by devastating floods, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif all but ruled out the possibility and sought to link the case to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

The development also came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his sadness over the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan and offered his condolences to those affected by the natural calamity, raising hopes for possible cooperation. between the two countries.

Sharif faced a volley of questions over possible food imports and the resumption of trade with India when he briefed international media in Islamabad on Tuesday on unprecedented floods that have killed more than 1,000 people and displaced 33 million people.

“There won’t have been any trade problems with India, but a genocide is taking place there and the Kashmiris have been deprived of their rights. Kashmir was forcibly annexed through the abolition of Article 370,” Sharif said, referring to India’s decision in 2019 to scrap J&K’s special status and split the region into two separate territories. ‘Union.

“I am however ready to sit down and talk with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We cannot afford war. We will have to devote our meager resources to alleviating poverty in our respective countries, but we cannot live in peace without addressing these issues,” Sharif said.

He added, “We shouldn’t be playing politics at this stage, but it is a fact that minority rights are subdued in India… We want peace in the region. We are not neighbors by choice.

Sharif also stressed that peace can only “come through sensible actions”.

There was no immediate response from Indian officials to Sharif’s remarks.

On Monday, Pakistani Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said in a media interaction that his country may consider importing vegetables and other food items from India to help people cope with the coronavirus crisis. widespread destruction of crops during flash floods. “If the supply is affected, the import of vegetables will have to be opened. If we have to import vegetables from India, we will,” said Ismail.

In August 2019, Pakistan suspended all trade with India in retaliation for New Delhi’s decision to remove J&K’s special status. Pakistan has also downgraded its diplomatic relations with India and expelled the Indian envoy to Islamabad.

In 2019, India withdrew most favored nation status from Pakistan as part of its response to a suicide bombing in Pulwama that killed 40 Indian soldiers. This attack was blamed on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

Imran Khan’s former government announced a decision to resume limited trade with India in April 2021, but backtracked just a day later due to opposition to the proposal from extremists within the firm.

People familiar with the matter said Pakistan is now considering importing wheat from Russia and vegetables and other foodstuffs from Afghanistan and Iran. Sharif has set up a committee under Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal to explore possible options for importing food items, including vegetables, to overcome severe shortages.


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