Pakistan FM says ‘no decision yet’ over trade resumption with India as floods wreak havoc
Amid floods in Pakistan, FM Bilawal Bhutto said that they are still evaluating the flood relief plan & have not decided on the resumption of trade with India.
Amid devastating floods in Pakistan wherein over 5.7 million people have been affected, the country’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Tuesday said that they are still evaluating the flood relief plan and have not decided on the resumption of trade with India. Notably, Bhutto made this remark at the “2022 Pakistan Floods Response Plan (FRP)” meeting, which was jointly unveiled by the Pakistani government along with the United Nations (UN) on August 30.
It is significant to note that earlier on Monday, August 29, Pakistan indicated that it might consider importing vegetables and other edible items from India amid worries about food security owing to disastrous floods, a media report stated. Notably, speaking to reporters, Pakistan Finance Minister Miftan Ismail said that the government ” can consider importing vegetables and other edible items from India” for the facilitation of the people in wake of the destruction of standing crops in Pakistan due to recent floods, ANI reported citing Radio Pakistan.
India-Pak trade issue
As a result of Pakistan’s decision to sever diplomatic ties with India under former PM Imran Khan’s regime, remove its high commissioner from New Delhi, expel the Indian envoy to Islamabad, and halt bilateral trade, relations between the two nations reached a new low in August 2019.
Notably, on August 4, India’s Union Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs V Muraleedharan stated that there had been no advancement in the restoration of commerce between India and Pakistan since 2019.
When asked whether there was any progress regarding the resumption of trade ties with the neighbouring country, the minister in a written response to the Rajya Sabha, said, “In August 2019, Pakistan announced the suspension of bilateral trade with India. Pakistan partially relaxed its ban on trade with India in September 2019 by permitting trade in certain pharmaceutical products. There has not been any progress regarding resumption of trade with Pakistan since then.”
However, after Imran Khan was ousted from the Prime Ministership earlier this year, Pakistan’s desire for trade and interaction with India was highlighted by the country’s new government’s foreign minister, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, in June. He said that Pakistan’s isolation in the international arena was a result of past policies.
Since June 14, the rains and floods have caused at least 1,033 fatalities and 1,527 injuries, according to Geo News, citing the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). Notably, Pakistan has experienced the biggest rain-related floods in its history, impacting approximately 5.7 million people. The nation’s rescue, relief, and rehabilitation efforts are still ongoing.
A total of 3,451.5 kilometres of road have been damaged, 149 bridges have fallen, and 170 shops have been destroyed, according to data collected from June 14 across Pakistan. A total of 9,49,858 dwellings in all have been demolished completely or partially and out of this total, 2,87,412 dwellings have been completely destroyed, while 6,62,446 homes have suffered partial damage. Additionally, 719,558 animals have also died.
Notably, Pakistan’s climate minister warned on Monday as nearly 500,000 people crammed into camps after losing their homes to the devastating flooding.