Pakistan says it will ‘seriously’ consider restoring trade ties with India

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday said that his country would “seriously” consider restoring trade relations with India that were suspended in August 2019, The Express Tribune reported.

Addressing a press conference in London, Dar said that Pakistan’s business community was eager to resume trade activities with India.

“Everyone’s [business community] appeal was the same – that our imports, which are still ongoing, arrive via Dubai or Singapore, [resulting in] extra freight, extra transhipment, transportation costs, etc,” Dawn quoted Dar as responding to a reporter’s question. “So we will seriously examine this.”

He added: “We will see what can be done about it. But I cannot give you a ‘yes or no’ answer because it requires consultation.”

Islamabad had downgraded its bilateral relations and suspended trade ties with New Delhi after India abrogated Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated the state into two Union territories.

Diplomatic ties between the two neighbours have remained strained since then.

Pakistan has demanded that India rolls back the abrogation of Article 370 as a prerequisite for improving relations with India. New Delhi has rejected the demand, maintaining that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and matters relating to the region are the country’s internal matter.

Earlier in March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Shehbaz Sharif on being sworn in as Pakistan’s prime minister. Days later, Shehbaz Sharif had thanked Modi for the wishes.

Shehbaz Sharif was elected as Pakistan’s prime minister on March 3 for the second time after a controversial general election last month that was marred by allegations of poll rigging.

During a speech after the election results were announced, Shehbaz Sharif’s brother and the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party, Nawaz Sharif, had said that their government would try to improve relations with the neighbouring countries.

Also read: Pakistan’s military establishment may have won the battle, but it is losing the war

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