Pakistan Cabinet rejects proposal to lift ban on import of sugar, cotton from India

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Pakistan’s cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected a government panel’s decision to allow imports of sugar and cotton from India.

The meeting rejected the decision made on Wednesday by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet to allow imports of the two commodities to control prices and overcome a shortage, the Pakistani media reported citing sources.

There was no official word on the development from the Pakistan government. The reasons for the sudden change could not immediately be ascertained.

The ECC’s decision, if implemented, would have led to resumption of trade between the two countries after almost two years. Pakistan had unilaterally suspended trade with India in August 2019 after New Delhi scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

On Wednesday, Pakistan’s new finance minister Hammad Azhar had announced the decision to import cotton and sugar from India and defended the move in the face of questions from the media.

The green signal for the imports was earlier seen in the context of a thaw in relations between New Delhi and Islamabad after the armies of the two sides recommitted themselves to a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir last month.

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