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Won't resume trade with India till J&K special status is restored: Pak PM

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

The federal cabinet on Thursday deferred the Economic Coordination Committee's (ECC) decision to allow the import of sugar, cotton and cotton yarn from India through land and sea routes.

The decision has been deferred until India reinstates Article 370 of its Constitution, which guaranteed a semi-autonomous status for Indian-occupied Kashmir. Pakistan had suspended all bilateral trade with Indian following New Delhi's decision to revoke Article 370 in August 2019.

"Today Cabinet stated clearly NO trade with India," Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari tweeted.

She said Prime Minister Imran Khan had made it clear that "there can be no normalisation of relations with India until they reverse their illegal actions" regarding occupied Kashmir taken on Aug 5, 2019.

Speaking to Geo News, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also said the cabinet had ruled that "normalising relations with India will not be possible" until it overturned the measures it took regarding occupied Kashmir's special status.

"A perception was emerging that relations with India have moved towards normalisation and trade has been opened," Qureshi said. "There was an exchange of thoughts on this and there was a unanimous opinion on this and it was the prime minister's [opinion] as well that as long as India does not review the unilateral steps it took on August 5, 2019, normalising relations with India will not be possible."

Newly appointed Finance Minister Hammad Azhar, who had announced the ECC decision to allow sugar and cotton imports from India on Wednesday, said it was routine for the cabinet to approve or reject the committee's proposals.

"The ECC proposes dozens of measures each week to the cabinet and the cabinet and PM routinely endorse, reject or modify some of them," he tweeted. "This is how the economic and political interface in a democracy works."

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