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MEA refuses to comment on Pakistan’s turnaround on resumption of cotton and sugar imports

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India declined to comment on Pakistan’s about-face on Friday over plans for limited imports of sugar and cotton from the country. The Pakistani cabinet on Thursday rejected a proposal for a very powerful committee to import cotton and sugar from India.

“We have seen reports about it. But as is evident, we are not the right party to whom this question should be directed,” said Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said there could be no normalization of relations until New Delhi reversed its decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. This came days after the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of new finance minister Hammad Azhar decided to buy the two key items from India, lifting an almost two-year ban on their importation in from the neighboring country.

Bagchi said he had no information on whether India plans to restore most-favored nation (MFN) status to Pakistan. India withdrew Pakistan’s MFN status following the Pulwama terrorist attack in 2019.

Resumption of cotton and sugar imports from India by Pakistan

Pakistan has once again made an about-face and this time it’s about the resumption of imports from India. On March 26, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his capacity as Minister of Commerce, presented the proposal to resume importation of cotton and sugar from India at the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee.

But the irony is the decision Imran Khan took as Prime Minister of Pakistan. On April 1, the cabinet headed by Imran Khan turned around and decided not to give the green light to its own proposal. Pakistan said it should be reconsidered, while again raising the issue of repealing Articles 370 and 35A in Jammu and Kashmir. Documents exclusively viewed by Republic World also show how Khan succumbed to pressure from the ISI and the Pakistani military and rejected his own proposal.

Meeting with Jaishankar not “ finalized or requested ”: Pak FM Qureshi

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said no meeting has been “finalized or requested” to date with Indian counterpart S Jaishankar on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia conference on Tuesday in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, according to a press report on Monday. . According to PTI reports, when asked about media speculation that India and Pakistan were quietly negotiating a full resumption of diplomatic relations, Qureshi said: No such decision at this time. Jaishankar last week also did not give a specific answer to questions about whether he will meet with Qureshi on the sidelines of the conference.

“My schedule is current. So far, I don’t think such a meeting (is scheduled),” he said at the Indian Economic Conclave in New Delhi on March 26.

‘Heart of Asia’

The conference was launched on November 2, 2011 in Turkey and has 15 countries participating. It is a ten-year-old regional initiative on security and cooperation for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. Most of the countries are neighbors of Afghanistan and countries in West Asia like Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. India hosted the same meeting in 2016 in Amritsar.

(With PTI inputs))

(Image credits: PTI / AP)

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