Just a day after a Pakistan government panel gave the nod to resume limited trade with India by importing cotton and sugar from the neighbouring country, Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected the proposal on Thursday.
A federal cabinet meeting presided by Khan rejected the proposal forwarded by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Wednesday to allow imports of the two commodities to control prices and overcome a shortage, the Pakistani media reported citing sources.
The decision was taken at an ECC meeting, chaired by Hammad Azhar, who was appointed as finance minister by Imran Khan on Monday. Azhar said that the meeting discussed 21 items on the agenda, including the import of cotton and sugar from India, which it allowed after detailed discussions.
There was no official word on the development from the Pakistan government till this report was being filed, and the reasons for the sudden change could not be ascertained immediately.
The ECC’s proposal, if implemented, would have led to a partial resumption of bilateral trade after almost two years. Pakistan had unilaterally suspended trade with India in August 2019 after New Delhi abrogated Article 370 that gave Jammu and Kashmir’s a special status.
The Pakistani change of heart came hours after the country’s human rights minister, Shireen Mazari, tweeted that all decisions made by the ECC have to be approved by the Cabinet.