Islamabad: Pakistan’s finance minister Miftah Ismail on Monday said the government can consider importing vegetables and other edible items from India following the destruction of standing crops due to massive floods, three years after Islamabad downgraded trade ties with New Delhi over the Kashmir issue.
Pakistan is witnessing a massive surge in the prices of vegetables and fruits due to devastating floods as the supply of vegetables from Balochistan, Sindh and south Punjab has badly been affected. Ismail said the government could “consider importing vegetables and other edible items from India” to facilitate people after recent floods destroyed crops across the country, state-owned Radio Pakistan reported.
He made the comment in response to a question. When a journalist told him that in the past, ministers advocating trade with India had to go home, Ismail said he was not afraid of it. “If people have to go home to protect themselves from inflation, then it is fine. As much as I am working for the improvement of the economy, I hope I will not be fired,” he said. “If the supply is affected, the import of vegetables (from India) will have to be opened. If we have to import vegetables from India, we will do so. ”Pakistan downgraded its ties with India in 2019 after India’s decision to revoke Article 370 that granted a special status to J&K. Citing a source, Dawn reported that former security adviser Moeed Yousuf was working on proposals regarding trade with India.
In May this year, after the government of PM PM Shehbaz Sharif came into power, there was widespread speculation on social media that the government was considering to resume trade with India. However, a statement from the commerce ministry denied the rumours and said that there was no change in Pakistan’s policy on trade with India.